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The white woman in colonial India, c. 1820–1930
Author: Indrani Sen

This book explores colonial gendered interactions, with a special focus on the white woman in colonial India. It examines missionary and memsahibs' colonial writings, probing their construction of Indian women of different classes and regions, such as zenana women, peasants, ayahs and wet-nurses. The three groups of white women focused upon are memsahibs, missionaries and, to a certain extent, ordinary soldiers' wives. Among white women in colonial India, it was the female missionaries who undoubtedly participated most closely in the colonial 'civilising mission'. The book addresses through a scrutiny of the literary works written by 'New Indian Women', such as Flora Annie Steel. Cross-racial gendered interactions were inflected by regional diversities, and the complexity of the category of the 'native woman'. The colonial household was a site of tension, and 'the anxieties of colonial rule manifest themselves most clearly in the home'. The dynamics of the memsahib-ayah relationship were rooted in race/class hierarchies, domestic power structures and predicated on the superiority of the colonising memsahib. The book also examines colonial medical texts, scrutinising how they wielded authoritative power over vulnerable young European women through the power/knowledge of their medical directives. Colonial discourse sought to project the white woman's vulnerability to specific mental health problems, as well as the problem of addiction of 'barrack wives'. Giving voice to the Indian woman, the book scrutinises the fiction of the first generation of western-educated Indian women who wrote in English, exploring their construction of white women and their negotiations with colonial modernities.

Memsahibs, ayahs and wet-nurses
Indrani Sen

period was confined to the ayah or female domestic servant who worked in their home – and also, occasionally, the wet-nurse who was employed for European infants. Throughout the colonial period, white women maintained diaries, wrote letters home, recorded their memoirs, wrote romantic novels and occasionally published housekeeping manuals in which they wrote copiously about their

in Gendered transactions
Lauren Cantos

: social status, piety, and the Protestant ‘new mother’ Wet-nursing was a common practice in late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. However, the prevalence of wet-nursing was dictated by regional economics: practices varied across the country, with wet-nurses having diverse contracts, wages, and social status. 3 Wealthier families were generally more likely to employ wet-nurses than poorer families. 4 It has been argued that advocacy for maternal breastfeeding in prescriptive

in Religion and life cycles in early modern England
Open Access (free)
Women and public transport
Masha Belenky

cautions, ‘Maris honnêtes garde à vous!’ 7 (‘Honest husbands, beware!’). This image is representative of how the liminal space of the omnibus interior – both public and private, anonymous and intimate – was perceived and imagined in the nineteenth century. In their insistent depiction of diverse iterations of sexualised femininity, from wet nurse to prostitute, both well-known and popular texts and images reveal the complexity of cultural attitudes toward women’s power of locomotion, an ambivalence about the blurring of boundaries between private and public realms, and

in Engine of modernity
Rachel Adcock, Sara Read, and Anna Ziomek

4 Elizabeth Clinton, Countess of Lincoln In 1622, when Elizabeth Clinton (c.1574–c.1630), Countess of Lincoln, published her short treatise, it was fashionable for aristocratic families to employ a wet-nurse, that is, another woman to breastfeed their children, rather than for mothers to do this themselves. The treatise follows a tradition which can be traced to the Latin text Puerpera (‘the new mother’) (1526) of the humanist Catholic priest Desiderius Erasmus.1 Erasmus set up his argument in the form of a dialogue in which the conversation ranged from the

in Flesh and Spirit
The white woman’s health issues in colonial medical writings
Indrani Sen

the frequency of dysmenorrhoea in tropical climates could be attributed to women’s hectic lifestyle in India rather than to the climate. 94 The ‘medical gaze’ and the ‘native’ wet-nurse We saw in the last chapter how memsahibs expressed in their writings acute anxieties about the ‘native’ wet-nurse who was generally needed to be

in Gendered transactions
Bettina Blessing

26 Baby and infant healthcare, Dresden, 1897–1930 and the wet nurses, who also lived in the baby hospital, was apparent in their daily life.38 They dined in separate rooms; the wet nurses shared a dining room with the domestic staff. Mealtimes were regular and Schlossmann described the nurses’ meals as simple but carefully prepared. The wet nurses were accommodated in one large dormitory while the nurses shared rooms with just two or three beds.39 The hospital matron had her own bedroom and sitting room. The trainee baby nurses were required to make their own

in Histories of nursing practice
Abstract only
Alysa Levene

rested with the inspector as to who should be sent up to London. Although the post might be a demanding one, therefore, it was not without its benefits. The hospital governors placed the highest importance on the system of supervised external wet nursing, finding that the continual presence of an inspector was something on which ‘it is beyond dispute that the Lives of thousands depend’.8 Fildes has noted that wet nurses have frequently been portrayed in a negative light, as being neglectful, drunk, incapable or thinly disguised baby farmers.9 Her own research suggests

in Childcare, health and mortality at the London Foundling Hospital 1741–1800
frequent childbirth and female health in early modern Italy
Caroline Castiglione

sisters, midwives and wet nurses. How did aristocratic women envision the daily health habits that they believed most conducive to the survival of the mother in this aristocratic female occupation? An extensive corpus of epistolary evidence by one Roman aristocratic woman, Eleonora Boncompagni Borghese (1642–95) provides precious insights into the thoughts of women on the place of the NonNaturals in the healthy female body and in particular, the frequently pregnant and childbearing aristocratic mother.3 Eleonora’s hundreds of letters sketch the panorama of

in Conserving health in early modern culture
Abstract only
Alysa Levene

. Proportional hazards models can tell us much about the impact of factors such as housing conditions, environmental surroundings and family structure on the survival of groups of individuals in the past.2 They have also been fruitfully constructed using data from foundling Survival prospects 69 homes to investigate the impact of the hospital regime, or the demographic characteristics of abandoned children. Aurora Angeli has applied the method to the Italian hospital at Imola, near Bologna, and identified the speed of the move to a wet nurse as critical in determining

in Childcare, health and mortality at the London Foundling Hospital 1741–1800