This volume brings together scholarly explorations of the idea and practice of modernity, focusing on gendered archives of modernity from Kerala. The essays in this volume investigate marginalised, unexplored and less discernible gendered narratives. They draw upon archival material that ranges from some of the earliest textual iterations of gender since Kerala’s initial engagements with modernity, to its various contemporary digital representations. The volume engages with a range of questions including literary, cultural and digital discourses around women’s clothes, body, menstruation, education, vocation, writing, caste identities and everyday practices. Gender and Modernity in Kerala, while unearthing debates that earlier projects of modernity failed to erase, makes a compelling argument for re-reading India’s multiple modernities from the perspective of gender.
Meena T. Pillai is Professor and Director, Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Kerala.
Introduction: Gender, Modernity and Kerala
Meena T. Pillai
1. Return of the Uncanny Yakshi: Gendering the ‘Spectres’ of Kerala’s Modernities
Meena T. Pillai
2. Imaginations of Pleasure: Against a History of Desire in Kerala
3. Re-reading Indulekha: Intimate Hierarchies in the Ambiguities of Sanskritised Registers and Domesticated Social Space
4. Stree, Purushan, Napumsakan: Shaping Femininities and Effeminacies in Early-Nineteenth-Century Kerala
Unsettling Praxes5. Fashioning the Reading Woman in Colonial Kerala: A Woman Reader’s Memoir in Perspective
6. Liminal Modernities: At the Intersections of Travel Discourses, Gender and Kerala (1880s–1920s)
Sucheta Sankar V.
7. Sewing Malayali Christian Women: Missionary Makings of Sartorial Morality and ‘Modern’ Domesticity in Travancore
8. Cookbooks from Kerala: Creative Adaptations and Inscriptions of Alternative Modernities
Gigy J. Alex
9. Television Modernity and Mediated Femininities in Kerala
Benita Acca Benjamin
10. Who is Afraid of the Raped Nun?: Discourses, Contestations and Digital Publics