Mary A. Procida
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Married to the empire
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Indians recognized the imperial significance of an official's marriage. In the 1881 Census of India, significant numbers of married Englishwomen reported their occupation as being the same as their husbands' profession. From the late nineteenth century, Anglo-Indians constructed an idea of family and marriage that was, both literally and metaphorically, the foundation for British imperialism in India. Although imperial marriage was very modern in its emphasis on companionship and partnership, it also incorporated more traditional ideas about husbands, wives and families. The Raj acknowledged wifely efforts for the empire and tacitly recognized the joint nature of imperial work by according a spouse the same social status as her husband. The professional partnership between husband and wife often blurred visible distinctions between the imperial official and his spouse, effectively erasing the line between a private femininity and a public masculinity.

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Married to the empire

Gender, politics and imperialism in India, 1883–1947


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