Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914-2004

Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914-2004

Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914-2004

Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914-2004

Synopsis

A particular dark triumph of modern nationalism has been its ability to persuade citizens to sacrifice their lives for a political vision forged by emotional ties to a common identity. Both men and women can respond to nationalistic calls to fight that portray muscular warriors defending their nation against an easily recognizable enemy. This us versus them mentality can be seen in sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalas, Serbs and Kosovars, and Protestants and Catholics. In Muscular Nationalism, Sikata Banerjee takes a comparative look at India and Ireland and the relationship among gender, violence, and nationalism. Exploring key texts and events from 1914-2004, Banerjee explores how women negotiate muscular nationalisms as they seek to be recognized as legitimate nationalists and equal stakeholders in their national struggles. Banerjee argues that the gendered manner in which dominant nationalism has been imagined in most states in the world has had important implications for women's lived experiences.Drawing on a specific intersection of gender and nationalism, she discusses the manner in which women negotiate a political and social terrain infused with a masculinized dream of nation-building. India and Ireland - two states shaped by the legacy of British imperialism and forced to deal with modern political/social conflict centring on competing nationalisms - provide two provocative case studies that illuminate the complex interaction between gender and nation.

Excerpt

Politicized Femininity and Muscular Nationalism

… Now you lie limp,

Face down,

Dumped in a ditch …

O poor adventuress—

In the name of virtue

They cut off your flaxen hair,

Defiled your lovely breasts,

Before degutting you….

Gang Bang, Ulster Style, by Linda Anderson

The Bengali alas! is always pathetic,

Eats, dresses, slumbers, and guards his domestic,

Should you give him a meal—no matter trash or treat,

That instant he’s your slave and falls at your feet!

So why does he worship those red feet with flowers?

Abandon your lion-riding, in these parts O Mother,

Should such a breed worship you, who will then be porters?

Who will be the pen-pushers? And toil in hordes?

For Mother you can never make them unlearn ever:

Bengalis have been slaves—forever and forever.

A Poem for Vijaya Dashami (anonymous)

Although these poems are divided by a time span of almost a hundred years and a geographical distance of several thousand miles, the poetic lament they expressed illustrates the complexity and the historical scope of narratives of gendered nationalisms. The broken body of a Northern Irish woman found during the “troubles” that began in 1969 and a groveling nineteenth-century . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.