Wives, Widows, And Concubines: The Conjugal Family Ideal In Colonial India

Paperback | June 13, 2008

byMytheli Sreenivas

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The family was at the center of intense debates about identity, community, and nation in colonial Tamil Nadu, India. Emerging ideas about love, marriage, and desire were linked to caste politics, the colonial economy, and nationalist agitation. In the first detailed historical study of Tamil families in colonial India, Wives, Widows, and Concubines maps changes in the late colonial family in relation to the region's culture, politics, and economy. Among professional and mercantile elites, the conjugal relationship displaced the extended family as the focal point of household dynamics. Conjugality provided a language with which women laid claim to new rights, even as the structures of the conjugal family reinscribed women's oppression inside and outside marriage.

Published in association with the American Institute of Indian Studies.

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From the Publisher

The family was at the center of intense debates about identity, community, and nation in colonial Tamil Nadu, India. Emerging ideas about love, marriage, and desire were linked to caste politics, the colonial economy, and nationalist agitation. In the first detailed historical study of Tamil families in colonial India, Wives, Widows, a...

Mytheli Sreenivas is Assistant Professor of History and Women's Studies at The Ohio State University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.55 inPublished:June 13, 2008Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253219728

ISBN - 13:9780253219725

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgments
Note on Transliteration

Introduction: Situating Families
1. Colonizing the Family: Kinship, Household, and State
2. Conjugality and Capital: Defining Women's Rights to Family Property
3. Nationalizing Marriage: Indian and Dravidian Politics of Conjugality
4. Marrying for Love: Emotion and Desire in Women's Print Culture
Conclusion: Families and History

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Overall, this book is a valuable addition in the list of historical research works on the issues of women, community politics and colonial legislative ventures in southern India. The research related strength of the book is that it draws information from a variety of primary sources, ranging from archives of court cases, women's narratives and women's writings in the magazines. The author, in a very articulate manner, simplifies the complex history of family, politics, caste, class and economic pressures in Tamil Nadu." -Human Rights and Human Welfare, 2009