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Title: Negotiating the boundaries of gender and empire : Lady Curzon, Vicereine of India, 1898-1905
Author: Thomas, Nicola
ISNI:       0000 0000 5232 4577
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis presents a life geography of Mary Curzon during the time she occupied the position of Vicereine of India, 1898-1905. Informed by gender and post-colonial theory I contextualise Mary Curzon within the culture of empire in India and at home. This thesis adopts the framework of the incorporated wife to address the imperial and domestic subjectivity of Mary Curzon and stresses the importance of reading her life situated within a fluid understanding of her negotiation of 'home' and 'empire'. This thesis has been shaped around the thematic reading of Mary's life divided into three parts that reflect Mary's negotiation of viceregal life; her corporeal concerns and her direct negotiation of'India'. I address Mary's position as an incorporated wife drawing attention to her roles as hostess, philanthropist and political companion. I address the extent to which Mary was able to exert agency within these roles and thus negotiate the boundaries of the incorporated framework. I develop the framework of the incorporated wife by analysing the nature of 'home' to Mary. I argue that the material homes of Mary in India were 'incorporated residences' which acted as 'contact zones'. I argue that despite the intense mobility of imperial life in India Mary found mechanisms through which she found stability. I address Mary's negotiation of the 'conceptual' space of home within the colonial metropolis. The framework of the incorporated wife has prioritised women's 'public' roles at the expense of their corporeal concerns. To address this problem I present the illness narratives of Mary Curzon contextualised within the discourses of imperial health in India. This thesis charts the way in which Mary conceptualised disease and how she responded to the disease environment of India in terms of her physical response and her representations of illness to those at 'home'. I develop an intimate history of the body by drawing on Mary's reproductive concerns and seek to integrate Imperial motherhood within the framework of incorporation. I argue that Mary's imperial subjectivity cannot be separated from her domestic subjectivity. Mary's negotiation of motherhood occurs across the spaces of empire, this reiterates the need to see 'home' and empire' as contiguous spaces. Mary negotiated the space of India most directly during the viceregal tours of India. I address the production of her tour journals and the audience for whom she was writing. The organization of the Viceroy's tours of India encouraged Mary to view India in a specific way. I address this 'frame' in terms of Mary's audience and her own periods of transgression. The space of the hunt within the tour is addressed. I follow the argument that the British sought to adopt the mantle of the Mughuls through sporting activities. However I question the extent to which the Viceroy exhibited 'mastery over nature' as Mary's diaries reveal the way in which representations of the Viceroy's hunting prowess through photographs and trophies were often illusions, which mask the reliance placed on the Indian host by the Viceroy. Finally I address the bodily space of the hunt, and highlight the gendered positioning of Mary's body within this space. I conclude by drawing together the themes of Mary's life through the lens of the 1903 Coronation Durbar held in Delhi.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Incorporated wife