Roy Chowdhury, Mousumi
Doctor of Philosophy
This thesis concerning women's histories in the Indian sub-continent and Africa looks at the representation of native women at the intersections of colonial, nationalist, and post-colonial discourses. The histories concern raped and "abducted" women during the communal violence following the partition of India in 1947, their treatment by the law, and their representation in post-colonial literary imaginings, women caught between the "development" machine and euro-centric ecological justice in countries of the South, and the production of the domestic sphere in colonial Africa through structures of exclusion, and its representations in post-colonial novels. The central argument in this thesis is that it is through strategic uses of native women's bodies that social space was made governable during colonialism, and nationalist movements came into being through appropriation of women's bodies in representations of the nation. How those two structures of violence have passed into post-colonial imaginings, along with the legacies of the Enlightenment project that shape the policies of the post-colonial state, are read in details. Through feminist subaltern historiography, and post-colonial eco-feminism, alternate structures of narratives and representation are sought to frame resistance writings.
Comparative literature; Women's studies