Reproductive Restraints

Reproductive Restraints : Birth Control in India, 1877-1947

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Description

Reproductive Restraints traces the history of contraception use and population management in colonial India, while illuminating its connection to contemporary debates in India and birth control movements in Great Britain and the United States. Sanjam Ahluwalia draws attention to the interactive and relational history of Indian birth control by including western activists such as Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes alongside important Indian campaigners. In revealing the elitist politics of middle-class feminists, Indian nationalists, western activists, colonial authorities and the medical establishment, Ahluwalia finds that they all sought to rationalize procreation and regulate women while invoking competing notions of freedom, femininity, and family. Ahluwalia's remarkable interviews with practicing midwives in rural northern India fills a gaping void in the documentary history of birth control and shows that the movement has had little appeal to non-elite groups in India. Finding that Jaunpuri women's reproductive decisions are bound to their emotional, cultural, and economic reliance on family and community, Ahluwalia presents the limitations of universal liberal feminist categories, which often do not consider differences among localized subjects. She argues that elitist birth control efforts failed to account for Indian women's values and needs and have worked to restrict reproductive rights rather than liberate subaltern Indian women since colonial times.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 149.86 x 226.06 x 15.24mm | 362.87g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252074807
  • 9780252074806
  • 1,438,048

Review quote

"A major breakthrough in feminist studies and also in the studies of subaltern groups in general. . . . Reproductive Restraints deserves serious recognition for presenting the voices from below, and providing a scathing critique of the western, imperialist, racist, elitist, feminist, liberal, nationalist and Subalternist projects from above."--Environment and History "Ahluwalia's historical instincts are keen. . . . Accessibly written, skillfully organized, and wonderfully researched."--Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History"A comprehensive historical study. . . . Will certainly be very useful for any student or scholar of contemporary India."Moussons "An essential source. . . . This book is a solid contribution to the field of discourse analysis."--American Historical Review"Represents a major breakthrough not only in feminist studies but also in the studies of subaltern groups in general."--Technology and Cultureshow more

About Sanjam Ahluwalia

Sanjam Ahluwalia is an associate professor of history and women's studies at Northern Arizona University.show more

Rating details

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