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Maternities and Modernities

Maternities and Modernities
Colonial and Postcolonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific


Margaret Jolly, Lenore Manderson, Maila Stivens, Jane Haggis, Kalpana Ram, Santi Rozario, Leanne Merrett-Balkos, Christine Dureau
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  • Date Published: February 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521586146

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About the Authors
  • Feminist theories have focused on contemporary, Western, middle-class experiences of maternity. This volume brings other mothers, from Asia and the Pacific, into scholarly view, aiming to show that birthing and mothering can be a very different experience for women in other parts of the world. The contributors document a wide variety of conceptions of motherhood, and drawing on ethnographic and historical research, they explore the relationships between motherhood as embodied experience and the local discourses on maternity. They show how the experience of motherhood has been influenced by missionaries, by colonial policies and by the introduction of Western medicine and biomedical birthing methods, and raise important questions about the costs and benefits of becoming a modern mother in these societies.

    • A novel approach combining history and anthropology
    • First book in this area to concentrate on non-Western mothering, explores mothering in Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, The Solomon Islands
    • Potential for use as a reader; particularly accessible to students because of broad editorial introduction and epilogue
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Ram and Jolly have put together a theoretically sophisticated and densely illustrated volume … it deserves a wide readership in anthropology and related disciplines.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521586146
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 224 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 5 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: colonial and postcolonial plots in histories of maternities and modernities Margaret Jolly
    1. Shaping reproduction: maternity in early twentieth-century Malaya Lenore Manderson
    2. Modernizing the Malay mother Maila Stivens
    3. 'Good wives and mothers' or 'dedicated workers'? Contradictions of domesticity in the 'mission of sisterhood', Travancore, south India Jane Haggis
    4. Maternity and the story of enlightenment in the colonies: Tamil coastal women, south India Kalpana Ram
    5. The dai and the doctor: discourses on women's reproductive health in rural Bangladesh Santi Rozario
    6. Other mothers: maternal 'insouciance' and the depopulation debate in Fiji and Vanuatu, 1890–1930 Margaret Jolly
    7. Just add water: remaking women through childbirth, Anganen, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea Leanne Merrett-Balkos
    8. From sisters to wives: changing contexts of maternity on Simbo, Western Solomon Islands Christine Dureau
    Epilogue: maternal experience and feminist body politics: Asian and Pacific perspectives Kalpana Ram.

  • Editors

    Kalpana Ram, Macquarie University, Sydney

    Margaret Jolly, Australian National University, Canberra


    Margaret Jolly, Lenore Manderson, Maila Stivens, Jane Haggis, Kalpana Ram, Santi Rozario, Leanne Merrett-Balkos, Christine Dureau

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