A Patchwork Shawl sheds light on the lives of a segment of the U.S. immigrant population that has long been relegated to the margins. It focuses on women's lives that span different worlds: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and the United States. This collection of essays by and about South Asian women in America challenges stereotypes by allowing women to speak in their own words. Together they provide discerning insights into the reconstruction of immigrant patriarchy in a new world, and the development of women's resistance to that reconstruction. Shamita Das DasGupta's introduction also acquaints readers with the psychological topography of the South Asian community.
A Patchwork Shawl considers topics from re-negotiation of identity to sexuality, violence to intimacy, occupations to organizing within the community. The essays bear witness to women's negotiations for independent identities, their claim to their own bodies, and the right to choose relationships based on their own histories and truths. They bring new understanding to the intersection of gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and class.
Shamita Das DasGupta is an assistant professor in psychology at Rutgers University, Newark, and author of The Demon Slayers and Other Stories: Bengali Folktales. She is also a cofounder of Manavi, the first organization in the U.S. to focus on violence against South Asian women in the U.S.