Author Biography

Rebecca Klenk (PhD, University of Washington, 1999) is a sociocultural anthropologist. She teaches interdisciplinary courses in gender studies, Asian studies, and global studies at the University of Tennessee. She is the author of several articles and a recent book on gender, development, alternative education and social activism in the Uttarakhand Himalaya.


In 1946, Sarala Devi, formerly Catherine Mary Heileman of London, founded a Gandhian training center for women and girls in Kumaon, in what was then the Himalayan region of the United Provinces, India. She and her students challenged conventions regarding gender, sexuality, and appropriate roles for colonial women. This essay analyzes Sarala Devi’s translocal work and shifting subjectivity in the context of her transnational position as she negotiated colonial, modernist, feminist, Gandhian, and village discourses in her mission to “uplift” women. It identifies and analyzes the varied historical contexts, ideologies, and discourses that created the possibility for Sarala Devi’s life and work in the Kumaon Himalaya.

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