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Reproductive Politics and the Making of Modern India

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, India played a pivotal role in global conversations about population and reproduction. In Reproductive Politics and the Making of Modern India, Mytheli Sreenivas demonstrates how colonial administrators, postcolonial development experts, nationalists, eugenicists, feminists, and family planners all aimed to reform reproduction to transform both individual bodies and the body politic. Across the political spectrum, people insisted that regulating reproduction was necessary and that limiting the population was essential to economic development. This book investigates the often devastating implications of this logic, which demonized some women's reproduction as the cause of national and planetary catastrophe.

To tell this story, Sreenivas explores debates about marriage, family, and contraception. She also demonstrates how concerns about reproduction surfaced within a range of political questions—about poverty and crises of subsistence, migration and claims of national sovereignty, normative heterosexuality and drives for economic development. Locating India at the center of transnational historical change, this book suggests that Indian developments produced the very grounds over which reproduction was called into question in the modern world.

The open-access edition of Reproductive Politics and the Making of Modern India is freely available thanks to the TOME initiative and the generous support of The Ohio State University Libraries.

DOI 10.6069/9780295748856

About the Author

Mytheli Sreenivas is associate professor of history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at the Ohio State University and author of Wives, Widows, and Concubines: The Conjugal Family Ideal in Colonial India.

Reviews

"Sreenivas demonstrates how colonial administrators, postcolonial development experts, nationalists, eugenicists, feminists, and family planners all aimed to reform reproduction to transform both individual bodies and the body politic."—New Books Network

"[T]his book is of vital importance to scholars of postcolonial states, modernisation, and population control."—Economic and Political Weekly

"[O]ffers a compelling view of colonial and postcolonial India, seen through the lens of the politics of reproduction."—Population and Development Review

"The thorough examination of a broad range of archival records backed by extensive engagement with critical theoretical frameworks makes the book a significant contribution to the scholarship on modern South Asia."—Asian Affairs

Endorsements

"The connections that this book makes are impressive, as is its ability to engage with a scholarship on reproduction and population not only from India, but most broadly, with global histories and historiographies."—Sanjam Ahluwalia, author of Reproductive Restraints: Birth Control in India, 1877–1947

"An enormously thorough, compelling, and sobering account of how feminist impulses came to be intertwined with state-led economistic thinking and coercive eugenic measures."—Ashwini Tambe, author of Defining Girlhood in India: A Transnational History of Sexual Maturity Laws

9780295748832 : reproductive-politics-and-the-making-of-modern-india-sreenivas
Hardback
284 Pages
$99.00 USD
9780295748849 : reproductive-politics-and-the-making-of-modern-india-sreenivas
Paperback / softback
284 Pages
$30.00 USD

Other Titles by Mytheli Sreenivas

Wives, Widows, and Concubines

Mytheli Sreenivas
Jun 2008 - Indiana University Press
$21.95 USD - Paperback / softback

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