Confronting the Body: The Politics of Physicality in Colonial and Post-colonial India
James H. Mills, Satadru Sen
Anthem Press, 2004 - History - 202 pages
The human body in modern South Asia is a continuous political enterprise. The body was central to the project of British colonialism, as well as to the Indian response to colonial rule. By constructing British bodies as normative and disciplined, and Indian bodies as deviant and undisciplined, the British could construct an ideology of their own fitness for political power and defence of colonialism itself. The politics of physicality then manifested in reverse in many ways, not least through Gandhi's use of his body as public experiment in discipline, as well as becoming a living rejection of British rule and norms of physicality. In the post-colonial period, the politics of physicality became more public. Bodies and their symbolic meanings were deployed not only against the European 'other' but, increasingly, against other Indian bodies - be it the representation of political aspiration, beauty pageants and the representation of nationalism on the world stage, the furtherance of feminist issues or the moral issues of sexual images of women in the media. In this challenging and wide-ranging new collection, the editors have assembled some of the best new writing on physicality in modern India. Providing a balance of materials from colonial and post-colonial India, Confronting the Body includes new research by established and up-and-coming writers in the social sciences and humanities.
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