1st Edition

Making the 'Woman' Discourses of Gender in 18th-19th century India

Edited By Sutapa Dutta, Shivangini Tandon Copyright 2024
    240 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    240 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    The book examines the representation of women, their agency and subjectivity and gender relations in 18th- and 19th-century India. The chapters in the volume interrogate notions and discourses of ‘women’ and ‘gender’ during the period, historically shaped by multiple and even competing actors, practices and institutions. They highlight the ‘making of the woman’ across a wide spectrum of subject areas, regions and roles and attempt to understand the contradictions and differences in social experiences and identity formations of women. The volume also deals with prevalent notions of masculinity and femininity, normative and non-conformist expressions of gender and sexual identity and epistemological concerns of gender, especially in its intersectional interplay with other axes of caste, class, race, region and empire.

    Presenting unique understandings of our gendered pasts, this volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of history, gender studies and South Asian studies.

    Lists of Figures

    List of Contributors

    Foreword by Farhat Hasan




    Sutapa Dutta and Shivangini Tandon


    PART I - The Private and the Public Worlds

    1 Interrogating the Colonial Categorisation of Female Dancers: The Case of Hafizas in Kashmir

    Shazia Malik

    2 Redefining the ‘Private’ as ‘Public’: Representation of the Awadhi Zenana as an Instrument of the State in the Ishqnama

    Tara Sami Dutt


    PART II - Questioning the Normative

    3 The Politics of ‘Becoming’ a Mirza: Shifting Masculine Norms and Gender Binary in the Mughal Society

    Riya Gupta

    4 Virangana Women: Dalit Counter-Histories of 1857

    Charu Gupta

    5 Gender and ‘Tribal’ Identity in Western India

    Maya Unnithan-Kumar

    6 Could Kali Be Bharat Mata? Interrogating Iconicity in Indian Goddesses

    Nilanjana Mukherjee


    PART III - The Problematic ‘Others’

    7 Looking beyond a Glorified Past: Re-examining the Category of Tawa’if in 18th and 19th century Awadh

    Tanya Burman

    8 Re-imagining Tawa’ifs: A Study of Courtesans in 18th-Century Delhi

    Noble Shrivastava

    9 Leaving a Lineage in Stone: Eunuchs in Socio-Spatial Setup of Mughal India

    Lubna Irfan


    PART IV - Narratives of Femininity

    10 Situating Women in Tamil Mahabharatas Questioning Frames, Breaking Moulds

    Vijaya Ramaswamy

    11 Conceptualising the Girl Child in 18th- and 19th-Century Bengal through Aagomoni Songs

    Meenakshi Malhotra

    12 The Emerging ‘Woman’: Women’s Writing and Contours of Domesticity and Femininity in Colonial Assam

    Nizara Hazarika


    Sutapa Dutta is a Professor of English at Gargi College, University of Delhi. Her research interests and publications are focused on 18th- and 19th-century writings and cover gender, education and identity in colonial India. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, London, and was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, from 2018 to 2020. She has authored British Women Missionaries in Bengal, 1793–1861, British Women Travellers: Empire and Beyond, 1770–1870 (ed.) and Mapping India: Transitions and Transformations, 18th–19th Century (co-ed). Her latest book is titled Disciplined Subjects: Schooling in Colonial Bengal.

    Shivangini Tandon is an Assistant Professor in History at Women’s College, Aligarh Muslim University. Her research interests include Early modern South Asian history, Feminist theory and questions of Language. She did her B.A. and M.A. from St. Stephen’s College, PhD in History from Delhi University and is a former Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Germany. She has been invited to many national/international forums as a speaker. Her articles have been published in edited books and journals like the Indian Historical Review, Journal of South Asian History & Culture and by Nehru Memorial, New Delhi. She is the recipient of prestigious fellowships/awards like the Max Planck India Mobility Grant, Sanwa Bank Scholarship and the ICHR foreign travel grant.