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NeMLA session: "MEMSAHIB RE-DEFINED" [Deadline: Sept 30, 2014]
full name / name of organization:
Dr. Susmita Roye, Delaware State University, USA
MEMSAHIB RE-DEFINED: EXPLORING THE CONNOTATIONS OF THE TERM
Memsahib – the term literally means “Sahib’s wife” or the “lady mistress” – is usually associated with white women in British India. For this reason, despite the fact that the term continues to be used today in independent India, its use cannot be divorced from its colonial conception because, more often than not, especially in the academic scholarship, the term’s association with British colonialism in India is analyzed. Examining the image of memsahibs and the nexus between gender and imperialism in India has garnered considerable scholarly attention (e.g. Claire Midgley, Indrani Sen and Margaret Strobel, among others).
However, in postcolonial India, the term lives on, usually referring to women from an affluent background. The term is no longer exclusively associated with white-skinned women. This transformation complicates the dialectical relationship among race, gender, colonial heritage and postcolonial identity-formation. Therefore, we may safely infer that the power play and politics of nuances associated with the term is far more complex than the mere literal meaning of “Sahib’s wife” or “mistress”.
Hence, we propose this session to be able to delve deeper into understanding and re-defining this term.
Scholarly papers are invited for this session. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
* Origins and etymological meaning of the term
The chairs of this proposed session are Drs. Susmita Roye and Suha Kudsieh. Please send 500-word abstract of your planned presentation by September 30, 2014.
In order to submit your abstract, please visit:
The session is being proposed for the 46th Annual Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Convention at Toronto, Ontario (Canada). The dates are April 30-May 3, 2015, and the convention will be hosted by Ryerson University. For more information, visit www.nemla.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about Toronto, visit http://www.seetorontonow.com/ or www.toronto.ca/visitors