Barking From the Margins: On écriture féminine | Natural Language processing |

May 20, 2011. I’m at an academic conference in Paris. A graduate student gives a paper on a novel about partition by the Pakistani writer Bapsi Sidhwa, making what seems to me to be an innocuous yet perceptive argument on the vexing ways in which gender and colonialism intersect in the novel. During the discussion period, the student is dressed down by the two (female) faculty members chairing the panel. ‘Do you really think Sidhwa has anything to say about partition that’s different from Salman Rushdie just because she’s a woman?’ The student is silent. ‘Don’t work only on women’s writing,’ one professor, a placid blond with an immobile page boy haircut counsels her. ‘That goes for all of you,’ she says. ‘It’s been done, and by people much older than you. It’s over. Find something else to work on.’