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Title: Being, belonging and becoming : a study of gender in the making of post-colonial citizenship in India 1946-1961
Author: Devenish, Annie Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 9344
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Concentrating on the time frame between the establishment of India's Constituent Assembly in 1946, and the passing of the Dowry Prevention Act in 1961, this thesis attempts to write an alternative history of India's transition to Independence, by applying the tools of feminist historiography to this crucial period of citizenship making, as a way of offering new perspectives on the nature, meaning and boundaries of citizenship in post-colonial India. It focuses on a cohort of nationalists and feminists who were leading members of two prominent women's organisations, the All India Women's Conference (AIWC) and the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), documenting and analysing the voices and positions of this cohort in some of the key debates around nation building in Nehruvian India. It also traces and analyses the range of activities and struggles engaged in by these two women's organisations - as articulations and expressions of citizenship in practice. The intention in so doing is to address three key questions or areas of exploration. Firstly to analyse and document how gender relations and contemporary understandings of gender difference, both acted upon and were shaped by the emerging identity of the Indian as postcolonial citizen, and how this dynamic interaction was situated within a broader matrix of struggles and competing identities including those of minority rights. Secondly to analyse how the framework of postcolonial Indian citizenship has both created new possibilities for empowerment, but simultaneously set new limitations on how the Indian women's movement was able to imagine itself as a political constituency and the feminist agenda it was able to articulate and pursue. Thirdly to explore how applying a feminist historiography to the story of the construction of postcolonial Indian citizenship calls for the ability to think about the meaning and possibilities of citizenship in new and different ways, to challenge the very conceptual frameworks that define the term.
Supervisor: Devji, Faisal Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of Asia & Far East ; International,imperial and global history ; Rights (development) ; Human rights ; Women ; Gender