Modern Maternities : Medical Advice about Breastfeeding in Colonial Calcutta book cover
1st Edition

Modern Maternities
Medical Advice about Breastfeeding in Colonial Calcutta

  • Available for pre-order on June 23, 2023. Item will ship after July 14, 2023
ISBN 9781032066196
July 14, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge India
264 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

Modern Maternities: Medical Advice about Breastfeeding in Colonial Calcutta brings to light rare textual and visual materials on medical opinion about breastfeeding by memsahibs (European women), dais (indigenous midwives and/or wet nurses) and the bhadramahila (here the focus is on ‘respectable’ Bengali-Hindu women). With the help of archival resources, the author discusses themes like:

  • modernity, maternities and medicine
  • intersections of ‘race’, gender, class, caste, community, and age in diet
  • artificial foods versus wet nursing
  • ‘cleanliness’, corporeality and culture
  • ‘clean midwifery’ versus ‘dirty midwifery’
  • customary breastfeeding practices
  • child-mothers and childcare
  • breastfeeding, mothercraft and modern clocks
  • exhibitions, baby shows and baby weeks
  • colonialism and anti-colonial nation-building

The book offers critical insights into social histories of medicine, motherhood and childcare in nineteenth and early twentieth century colonial Calcutta. It is intended for anyone interested in the book’s interdisciplinary focus on the regional, national and global resonances of childrearing advice. In particular, it will interest scholars and researchers from modern Indian history, global history, health history, medical anthropology, gender studies, and South Asian studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Tropicana Milk: Memsahibs, Dais and Mothering in the Tropics 2. ‘Indian Mothers’, Tradition and Medicine 3. Child-Mothers: ‘Premature Maternity’ and Infant Health 4. Midwifery, Mothercraft and the Bhadramahila 5. Modern Clocks, Maternal Breasts and Model Foods Conclusion Bibliography

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Ranjana Saha is a Postdoctoral Fellow (History Faculty) at Manipal Centre for Humanities, MAHE, Manipal. Prior to joining MCH, she was a two-year Postdoctoral Fellow at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali. Her research has been published in national and international journals like The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Women’s Studies International Forum and South Asia Research.