Sex and the Family in Colonial India - The Making of Empire

Sex and the Family in Colonial India - The Making of Empire

Product ID: 24267

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Author: Durba Ghosh
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 278
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780521898799


In the early years of the British empire, cohabitation between Indian women and British men was commonplace and to some degree tolerated. However, as Durba Ghosh argues in a challenge to the existing historiography, anxieties about social status, appropriate sexuality, and the question of who could be counted as 'British' or 'Indian' were constant concerns of the colonial government even at this time.

By following the stories of a number of mixed-race families, at all levels of the social scale, from high-ranking officials and noblewomen to rank-and-file soldiers and camp followers, and also the activities of indigenous female concubines, mistresses and wives, the author offers a fascinating account of how gender, class and race affected the cultural, social and even political mores of the period.

The book makes an original and signal contribution to scholarship on colonialism, gender and sexuality.


Acknowledgments page ix

Introduction 1

1 Colonial companions 35

2 Residing with begums: William Palmer, James Achilles Kirkpatrick and their “wives” 69

3 Good patriarchs, uncommon families 107

4 Native women, native lives 133

5 Household order and colonial justice 170

6 Servicing military families: family labor, pensions, and orphans 206

Conclusion 246

Bibliography 257