Alice Pearson – Final Reflections

  1. The most difficult aspect of preparing for my dissertation is narrowing my topic down into one that is more plausible. As well as this, I have found it more difficult than expected to understand methodology and how to use it when planning my dissertation. I have also been surprised by the amount of secondary reading to be done in preparation for writing about my dissertation.
  2. I have managed my time well in order to be more realistic about how much my dissertation can cover. By doing so I have been able to narrow down the time period that I am able to cover and the range of events, too. Breaking down tasks into sections made them more manageable – especially when it came to secondary reading around the topic.
  3. I have learnt that approaching my dissertation requires good planning to allow plenty of time for exploring my topic in every way I would like to. I have also learnt not to be too ambitious in what I would like to cover in my dissertation.
  4. Speaking with my supervisor during the course of this module has been the most useful in getting my ideas straight and planning what exactly my dissertation will cover. I also think that the assignments were very helpful in building up knowledge of the previous literature in the field. Understanding methodology was also useful in preparing for my project because I have a better idea of how methodology can improve my research. Finally, I feel much more confident about my dissertation that at the beginning of the module, and have a clearer idea of how my project will be completed over the next year.

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.

Alice Pearson – Introduction

Hi everyone,

My name is Alice and I’m from Edinburgh. I’m currently living in Bridge of Allan. I’m thinking of writing my dissertation on an aspect of gender history in Britain in the nineteenth-century. I’m not really sure on a specfic topic yet but I am hoping to narrow my options down during the course of this module. I’m more comfortable with online learning now and have found getting into a routine useful to stay on top of work. I’m looking forward to working with you all!