In this innovative and interesting study, Antoinette Burton raises questions and extends the parameters of discussion in relation to a number of key issues that concern the relationship between women, the home and colonial modernity in twentieth century colonial India.
The interaction between western men's and native women's sexuality makes the human body central to the articulation of colonial/imperial ideologies. Setting her study in eighteenth-century British India, Ghosh emphasises a pan-imperial understanding of body, and the role of race, gender and sexuality in empire-building in the early modern period.
The subject of sati – more commonly known to Anglophone readers as ‘suttee’, a term which was used by 18th- and 19th-century writers to signify the self-immolation of Hindu widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands (1) – has long been of interest to historians.
Historians of the British Empire have long recognized the hunger strike—famously embraced by suffragettes in Britain, and by nationalists in Ireland and India—as a transnational tactic of democratic, anti-colonial resistance.
In 1899 the Straits Chinese physician and community leader Lim Boon Keng made the case that female education was beneficial to the community as a whole: ‘Keep your women in a low, ignorant and servile state, and in time you will become a low, ignorant and servile people – male and female!’ (p.