Cultural anthropologist and photographer Stephen Huyler will present an illustrated talk on “Re-Envisioning the Identity of Women in Contemporary India” on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Camden Public Library.

Most westerners have very specific preconceptions about the roles and identity of Indian women. The reality, particularly in the 21st century, is often very different. “Our opinions are often based in antiquated and misguided information that portrays these women purely as victims of ancient, tradition-bound cultures. India is rapidly changing and today’s women, even at the lowest level of society, portray self-initiative and determination to rise above adversity,” said Huyler. “Throughout the subcontinent, women’s roles are in flux. In many cases the situation is greatly improving, in others a reaction against the threat to traditional values has created new conflicts.”

The talk is co-hosted by the Camden Public Library and the Camden Conference as part of the conference’s Community Events Series.

Stephen Huyler is a cultural anthropologist living in Camden who has conducted field research in India for the past 39 years. A major focus of his work has been to interview thousands of women throughout the country and to write books that reflect their identities. His two most recent books are “Daughters of India: Art and Identity” and “Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing.” Huyler has also produced an award-winning film based on his latest book. In 2009, he was challenged by an intensive book tour of India meeting with feminists in major Indian cities. His talk at the Camden library will discuss some of his new insights.