Home and Harem

Nation, Gender, Empire and the Cultures of Travel

Home and Harem

Post-Contemporary Interventions

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Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: Published: March 1996

Author: Inderpal Grewal

Asian Studies > South Asia, Theory and Philosophy > Feminist Theory, Postcolonial Theory

Moving across academic disciplines, geographical boundaries, and literary genres, Home and Harem examines how travel shaped ideas about culture and nation in nineteenth-century imperialist England and colonial India. Inderpal Grewal’s study of the narratives and discourses of travel reveals the ways in which the colonial encounter created linked yet distinct constructs of nation and gender and explores the impact of this encounter on both English and Indian men and women. Reworking colonial discourse studies to include both sides of the colonial divide, this work is also the first to discuss Indian women traveling West as well as English women touring the East.
In her look at England, Grewal draws on nineteenth-century aesthetics, landscape art, and debates about women’s suffrage and working-class education to show how all social classes, not only the privileged, were educated and influenced by imperialist travel narratives. By examining diverse forms of Indian travel to the West and its colonies and focusing on forms of modernity offered by colonial notions of travel, she explores how Indian men and women adopted and appropriated aspects of European travel discourse, particularly the set of oppositions between self and other, East and West, home and abroad.
Rather than being simply comparative, Home and Harem is a transnational cultural study of the interaction of ideas between two cultures. Addressing theoretical and methodological developments across a wide range of fields, this highly interdisciplinary work will interest scholars in the fields of postcolonial and cultural studies, feminist studies, English literature, South Asian studies, and comparative literature.


“In this important consideration of the interplay between ‘home’ and ‘empire,’ Inderpal Grewal explores and dismantles another of the seemingly endless binary oppositions that have so influenced our thinking, both historically and contemporarily. . . . Her assessment of the genre of travel writing as a space marking the difference between east and west is distinctive and original. Linking travel and colonialism with modernity, Grewal looks at the writings of European travelers headed for India and at those of Indian travelers to Britain. . . . Grewal’s reading of the meanings of travel is a challenging and innovative one, and her appreciation of its gendered and racialized layers is exciting and new.” — Philippa Levine, Journal of Asian Studies

“A stunning account of the complex interactions between England and India, the women’s movements and imperialism in the former and the anti-imperialist (and often anti-feminist) nationalist movements of the latter.” — Mary N. Layoun, University of Wisconsin at Madison

“Delineating the complex effects of nineteenth-century colonialism on travel practices along empire, nation, class, and gender lines, Home and Harem is a breakthrough for interdisciplinary feminist scholarship.” — Ella Shohat, City University of New York


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Inderpal Grewal is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at San Francisco State University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

I. English Imperial Culture

1. Home and Harem: Domesticity, Gender, and Nationalism 23

2. Empire and the Movement for Women's Suffrage in Britain 57

3. The Guidebook and the Museum 85

II. Euroimperial Travel and Indian Women

4. The Culture of Travel and the Gendering of Colonial Modernity in Nineteenth-Century India 133

5. Pandita Ramabai and Parvati Athavale: Homes for Women, Feminism, and Nationalism 179

Afterword 230

Notes 233

Bibliography 265

Index 281
Sales/Territorial Rights: North America

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1740-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1731-9
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