Among the legacies of the colonial encounter are any number of contemporary ‘mixed-race' populations, descendants of the offspring of sexual unions involving European men (colonial officials, traders, etc.) and local women. These groups invite serious scholarly attention because they not only challenge notions of a rigid divide between colonizer and colonized, but beg a host of questions about continuities and transformations in the postcolonial world. This book concerns one such group, the Eurasians of India, or Anglo-Indians as they came to be designated. Caplan presents an historicized ethnography of their contemporary lives as these relate both to the colonial past and to conditions in the present. In particular, he forcefully shows that features which theorists associate with the postcolonial present — blurred boundaries, multiple identities, creolized cultures — have been part of the colonial past as well. Presenting a powerful argument against theoretically essentialized notions of culture, hybridity and postcoloniality, this book is a much-needed contribution to recent debates in cultural studies, literary theory, anthropology, sociology as well as historical studies of colonialism, ‘mixed-race' populations and cosmopolitan identities.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction 2 Anglo-Indians in Madras 3 Guarding Boundaries - Crossing Boundaries 4 Paradoxes of Belonging 5 The Spirit of Emigration 6 Close Families and Matrifocal Households 7 The Practice of Culture
Lionel Caplan is Emeritus Professor and Professorial Research Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London