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PURDAHNASHIN: ON THE INTERRELATEDNESS BETWEEN SPACE AND SEXUALITY OF WOMEN WITH(IN) THE HAVELIS OF 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES IN LUCKNOW, INDIA

by CHATTERJEE, JAIDEEP

Abstract (Summary)
This study brings a synthesis of contemporary architectural, feminist and literary analysis to the havelis of the 18th and 19th centuries in the city of Lucknow, India to illuminate the complex construction of woman's identity. Navigating the real spaces of the havelis and textual spaces of the few surviving period writings, it addresses the dialogical relation between the spatiality of the haveli and the identity of these women. The first part argues that British impressions about the Indian residence were heavily prejudiced by logic of visualization, and their writings were based on Cartesian categories of res cogito and res extensa that gave primacy to the visual and masculine realm. Hence, their analyses about the spatiality of the havelis, made the "error" of "reading" a space that was produced to be "lived" rather than deciphered through a mere presentation of visual clues. The second part presents a corporeal experience of the haveli, the city of Lucknow and its singular place in the urban landscape of India. It shows how the distinctive spatiality of the haveli subverts notions of dominant visuality. Additionally, it clarifies how a presentation of space through corporeality is imbibed with insights into the formulation of the feminine subject? The third part of the thesis, through a reading of two period writings, Mirza Muhammad Hadi Rusva's Umrao Jan Ada and Attia Hosain's Sunlight on a Broken Column, explores three central issues that emphasize the interrelatedness between space and sexuality. They are, firstly, what was the role of space, if at all, in structuring the woman's world? Secondly, how is the female body circumscribed within this space? Finally what is the mode of negotiation of women's identity that exists within this socio-spatial matrix? Summarily, the investigation argues that a nebulous understanding of categories/ spaces was deeply embedded in the everyday of the women and provided the women, through a process of "negotiation" at every level, a platform for an expression of their "subjectivity".
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:purdah space secuality haveli lucknow

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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