Sex and the Family in Colonial India

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

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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 more

Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8 b/w illus.
  • 1139878417
  • 9781139878418

Review quote

'Ghosh's book will be immensely valuable to scholars of gender, race, and empire ...' Journal of Asian Studies '... Sex and the Family makes an important contribution to the investigation of racial and gender relations in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century India by reminding us of the anxiety Englishmen felt and by recovering some of the Indian women's voices.' Eighteenth-Century Studiesshow more

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Colonial companions; 2. Residing with begums: William Palmer, James Achilles Kirkpatrick and their 'wives'; 3. Good patriarchs, uncommon families; 4. Native women, native lives; 5. Household order and colonial justice; 6. Servicing military families: family labour, pensions and orphans; Conclusion; Bibliography; more

About Durba Ghosh

Durba Ghosh is Assistant Professor in History at Cornell University. She has co-edited, with Dane Kennedy, Decentering Empire: Britain, India and the Transcolonial World (2006).show more

Rating details

31 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 26% (8)
4 55% (17)
3 19% (6)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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