Mother India/ Mother Ireland: gendered dialogues of nationalism and colonialism

Thapar-Bjorkert, Suruchi and Ryan, Louise (2002) Mother India/ Mother Ireland: gendered dialogues of nationalism and colonialism. Women's Studies International Forum, 25 (3) . pp. 301-313. ISSN 0277-5395 [Article] (doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(02)00257-1)


In this comparative analysis of the anticolonial movements in India and Ireland in the first half of the 20th century, we explore the complexities of the connections between gender, nationalism, and colonialism. We engage with feminist theories of nationalism and suggest that women's involvement in nationalism has been complex and diverse. In this article, we highlight the political negotiations through which women colluded, confronted, and challenged nationalism.

Nationalist discourses constructed the symbolic roles of men and women, which best served the nationalist project as well as inverted the British colonial imagery of the “feminized” nations. The most popular imagery was of the desexualized national images of “Mother India” and “Mother Ireland”. However, we suggest that some women successfully negotiated these symbols to carve political spaces for themselves during the anticolonial movement. Nationalist conflicts brought about a blurring of the boundaries between public and private, home and battlefield, the domestic sphere became a site of resistance, confrontation, and politicization of women's consciousness. We also suggest that women's active negotiation continued in post-Independence India and Ireland.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
A. > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
ISI Impact: 2
Item ID: 3580
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2010 10:18
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2017 15:41

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