Alice Pearson – Annotated Bibliography

Alice Pearson – Annotated Bibliography

My dissertation will consider the use of women as symbols during the Indian Nationalist movement in the nineteenth and twentieth century. I am particularly interested in British attitudes to the practice of Sati and Prostitution in India. I found my secondary sources through Jstor and the footnotes of relevant sources. I found my primary sources through the UK parliamentary papers online collection and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Secondary Sources

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Can the Subaltern Speak? Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988.

One of the most influential essays of feminist postcolonial theory. This is a fascinating and complex argument that argues the British governments reaction to practice of Sati in India followed the idea of “White men saving brown women from brown men”. This is an interesting example of the postcolonial feminist historiography that I will be examining in my project.

Sinha, Mrinalini. “Refashioning Mother India: Feminism and Nationalism in Late-Colonial India.” Feminist Studies 26, no. 3 (2000): 623.

This looks at Mayo’s 1927 book titled ‘Mother India’. The book was imperialist propaganda that argued against Indian self-rule. The backlash against this publication triggered a new Liberal Indian feminist discourse. Sinha argues that this new movement redefined the image of ‘Mother India’ and the ‘Modern Indian Woman’ within the nationalist movement.

Thapar, Suruchi. “Women as Activists; Women as Symbols: A Study of the Indian Nationalist Movement.” Feminist Review, no. 44 (1993): 81.

Thapar’s article is an interesting evaluation of the transforming symbolism of women in the Indian Nationalist movement. It argues that while middle-class women are praised for their contribution to the movement, age and religion were just as important in dividing the movement. Thapar argues that women were used as symbols of unity and the concepts of ‘motherhood’ and ‘femininity’ were adapted to suit the requirements of the current political environment.

Primary Sources

Correspondence between India Office and Government of India on Cantonments Acts and Regulations (1895). 19th Century House of Commons Sessional Papers

This source is an example of the tensions between the British and Indian perspectives on prostitution in India. It details the concerns about venereal disease among the military and shows how the regulation of women became a source of contention between the British and Indians. I would like to look more into the records of the debates concerning prostitution and the practice of Sati in India.

Carmichael, Amy Beatrice, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

This source gives lots of information on the Christian missionary, Amy Beatrice. This account gives an insight into the importance of religion in the debates surrounding women – especially prostitution.

One thought on “Alice Pearson – Annotated Bibliography”

  1. I’m sure those tutors with a greater expertise in colonial history can advise better – but 2 things I notice
    1) There is a bit a gulf between the timing of the primary source from Parliamentary Papers (1895) and the article on ‘Mother India’ (1927) – the nature of Indian nationalism and, to some extent, the nature of colonial rule had transformed in those 30 years – do try to focus your study to a more particular period – at least initially, otherwise you can quickly become overwhelmed by material
    2) The sources listed at the end of an ODNB entry on an individual such as Amy Beatrice ARE a very valuable guide to primary material. But the entry itself is a SECONDARY source written by a historian (with all the usual elements of selection, cultural subjectivity and unwitting testimony that any historian can bring).

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