A Space of Her Own: Personal Narratives of Twelve Women

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Leela Gulati, Jasodhara Bagchi
SAGE Publications, May 1, 2005 - Social Science - 275 pages
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Focusing on relationships between women of different generations in India, this book comprises of narratives demonstrating how each contributor established her own personhood through engagement with a wider kin group.

Did the women portrayed in the narratives find space for themselves within orthodox structures? Or, were they so constrained by the social roles of the greatest importance to their families - as wives and mothers - that ending these roles meant some kind of death? How did their lives mould those of the narrators of these life histories?

Showing that women need not always be seen as victims, these are stories of women who found strength, success and independence from the inspiring lives of their mothers and grandmothers.

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About the author (2005)

Leela Gulati was born in Mysore, India. She grew up in Baroda and was educated at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, where she began her teaching career. Later on she moved to Trivandrum and was associated with the Centre for Development Studies. Lately she has been working on the female dimension of ageing and widowhood. In recent years her focus has been on architecture and is closely working with the Laurie Baker Centre to pursue her architectural passion.

Most of her earlier work focused on the issues of women, work and poverty, and she has tried to use the tools of the anthropologist to understand economic questions. She is known for the intensive use of case studies as a research methodology. These narratives that she has edited are also an extension of the same methodology with a focus to understand how and when do women in societies change. Can one trace the social, economic and political change and its impact over women over a period of time. She has also been interested in the study of women in the International labour migration stream, both on women who stay behind and on those who migrate.

Jasodhara Bagchi is Emeritus Professor of Women's Studies at Jadavpur University, where she was also Professor of English until her retirement. She is former Chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Women. Her focus areas of research include women's studies, women's writings, 19th century English and Bengali literature, the reception of Positivism in Bengal, motherhood, and the Partition of India. Her authored, edited, and co-edited books include Literature, Society, and Ideology in the Victorian Era (1992), Indian Women: Myth and Reality (1995), The Trauma and the Triumph: Gender and Partition in Eastern India (co-edited with Subhoranjan Dasgupta, 2003), and The Changing Status of Women in West Bengal 19702000: The Challenges Ahead (2005).


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