How Barbie Came To India, Toru Dutt’s Travel Narratives, and More With Dr. Inderpal Grewal

Jun 19, 2023


In this episode, gender and sexuality studies scholar Dr. Inderpal Grewal discusses the first modern Indian travelogs, Pandita Ramabai’s advocacy for Indian widows, and media portrayals of honor killing.

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


00:01:01:10- What is transnational feminism? Why is taking a transnational approach to gender important to understanding it at a regional and global level? 

00:07:32:03- How did notions of beauty from 19th century Britain impact Indian women’s identities? 

00:14:10:11- How did Toru Dutt appropriate the European travel narrative in the 19th century, and how did travel writing like this enable Indian readers to get a sense of life and freedom outside India?

00:19:54:21- What were Pandita Ramabai and Parvatibai Athavale’s travels like, and how did they achieve the support they got for Indian widows?

00:27:36:15- How was the activism of Pandita Ramabai and Parvatibai Athavale perceived by male Indian nationalists at the time?

00:30:38:03- What do memoirs of Indian bureaucrats from the 20th century reveal about notions of masculinity in post-colonial life, and did these ideas of masculinity differ before and after Independence?

00:41:50:09- What did the introduction of Barbie in India mean for India’s transnational Indian identity? Has that identity changed in recent years?

00:49:49:21- How does Western media portray honor killing, and how does it differ from the kind of portrayals we see in India? Do racialized portrayals of honor killing impact the efforts to stop it?


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