‘Bad Women’ in Bangla Detective Novels, Zenana Stereotypes, and More With Dr. Shampa Roy

Dec 19, 2022


In this episode, literature scholar Dr. Shampa Roy talks to us about why widows were villains in early Bangla detective novels, portrayals of women criminals in daroga accounts, and descriptions of zenanas in British women’s travel writings

‘In Perspective’ is The Swaddle’s podcast series where academics reveal little-known facts about Indian history, society and culture. 


00:01:03:09- What depictions of violence in domestic spaces do we see in Bankim Chatterjee’s domestic novels in the 1870s?

00:13:52:09- How do Priyonath Mukhopadhyay’s immensely popular darogah accounts from the late 19th century dismantle cultural stereotypes around Hindu femininity? 

00:26:11:23- What social factors  impacted portrayals of women criminals in early Bangla detective fiction? Are there any parallels with depictions of the vamp in Bombay cinema? 

00:38:58:07- What is the significance of the letters that British feminist Eleanor Rathbone exchanged with Indian feminists? What were the questions it raised about intersectionality, and intersections and interactions between Indian and imperial feminism?

00:49:30:12- Who was Fanny Parkes? How did her travel journals subvert the stereotypical colonial understandings of royal women who resided in zenanas?


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