Cover image for Effeminism : the economy of colonial desire
Title:
Effeminism : the economy of colonial desire
Author:
Krishnaswamy, Revathi, 1960-
Publication Information:
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
vi, 191 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Reading colonial erotics -- The economy of colonial desire -- Manufacturing masculinity -- Imperial feminism in an age of homosocial colonialism : Flora Annie Steel's On the face of the waters -- Cartographies of homosocial terror : Kipling's gothic tales and Kim -- A grammar of colonial desire : E.M. Forster's Passage to India.
ISBN:
9780472109753
Format :
Book

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Central Library DS479 .K75 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Effeminism charts the flows of colonial desire in the works of British writers in India. Working on the assumption that desire is intensely political, historically constituted, and materially determined, the book shows how the inscriptions of masculinity in the fictions of Flora Annie Steel, Rudyard Kipling, and E. M. Forster are deeply implicated in the politics of colonial rule and anticolonial resistance. At the same time, the study refrains from representing colonialism as a coherent set of public events, policies, and practices whose social, political, and cultural meanings are self-evident. Instead, by tracing the resistant and unassailable modes of masculine desire in colonial fiction, the study insists on an explosive revolutionary potential that makes desire often intractable. And by restoring the political in the unconscious and the unconscious in the political, the book proposes to understand colonialism in terms of historical failure, ideological inadequacy, and political contention. This book will interest not only scholars of 19th- and 20th-century British literature and colonial and postcolonial literatures, but also those working in the areas of cultural studies, gender studies, and South Asian studies.“Krishnaswamy uses ‘effeminization' to describe the complicated paths of colonial sexual desire, stereotypes of Indian male passivity, and how ‘colonizing men used womanhood to delegitimize, discredit and disempower colonized men.' Reading texts by Rudyard Kipling (a ‘culturally hybrid male'), E. M. Forster (a homosexual), and F. A. Steel (a woman), the author shows how these tactics affect the representation not only of colonized men and women but also of the marginalized writers of the colonizing culture. In the process, she makes intriguing analogies between androgyny and biculturalism." —Choice


Reviews 1

Choice Review

For two decades, linking political domination and sexual subordination has been an important notion in the study of colonialism. Analysts of historical and literary texts have elaborated the ways in which colonized people are "feminized" by their relative powerlessness and how racial domination by the white conqueror is accompanied by the sexual domination of the woman of color. Working on the literature of the British Raj, Krishnaswamy (San Jose State Univ.) notes--as others have--that this picture is complicated when one takes into account white women (sexually subordinate, racially dominant) and Indian men (gender dominant, race subordinate). Krishnaswamy uses "effeminization" to describe the complicated paths of colonial sexual desire, stereotypes of Indian male passivity, and how "colonizing men used womanhood to delegitimize, discredit and disempower colonized men." Reading texts by Rudyard Kipling (a "culturally hybrid male"), E.M. Forster (a homosexual), and F.A. Steele (a woman), the author shows how these tactics affect the representation not only of colonized men and women but also the marginalized writers of the colonizing culture. In the process, she makes intriguing analogies between androgyny and biculturalism, further developing arguments made in Jenny Sharpe's Allegories of Empire (CH, Dec'93), Homi Bhabha's The Location of Culture (1994), and Edward Said's Orientalism (CH, Apr'79). Large undergraduate and all graduate libraries. K. Tololyan Wesleyan University


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