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New Course: Gendering the Raj

By Dr. Alison Fletcher

I am very excited about a new course called “Gendering the Raj,” which will expand the classes for students that are interested in gender studies, as well as adding a region of the world that the history department does not cover. The course will explore the relationship between gender, imperialism, and nationalism in India. We will look at the real and symbolic roles that both British and Indian women and men played in colonial and post-colonial India, providing an opportunity for students to explore wider theoretical issues relating to race, sex, gender, colonialism and culture. Colonialism involved more than the simple economic and political transformation of colonized societies. It also entailed dramatic social and cultural changes, not simply among the colonized, but among the colonizers as well.  Gender came to play a key role in these transformations, as gender norms were defined and deployed by colonial states as a means to justify and legitimize colonial rule, to maintain class and racial hierarchies (both in the colonies and at ‘home’) and to demarcate the often fuzzy boundaries between colonizer and colonized.  For the colonized, asserting and re-defining their own gender norms became a means of anti-colonial resistance, of forging national identities, and of delimiting the boundaries between various religious, ethnic, class, and caste.

 

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