H-World: Member Book: Datta, Fleeting Agencies: A Social History of Indian Coolie Women in British Malaya

Arunima Datta's picture

Dear Colleagues and Friends,


My book, Fleeting Agencies: A Social History of Indian Coolie Women in British Malaya, has just been published by Cambridge University Press (ISBN:9781108937115; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108837385)


Fleeting Agencies disrupts the male-dominated narratives by focusing on gendered patterns of migration and showing how South Asian women labour migrants engaged with the process of migration, interacted with other migrants and negotiated colonial laws. This is the first study of Indian coolie women in British Malaya to date. In exploring the politicization of labour migration trends and gender relations in the colonial plantation society in British Malaya, the author foregrounds how the migrant Indian 'coolie' women manipulated colonial legal and administrative perceptions of Indian women; their gender-prescriptive roles, relations within patriarchal marriage institutions, and even the emerging Indian national independence movement in India and Malaya. All this, to ensure their survival, escape from unfavourable relations and situations, and improve their lives. The book also introduces the concept of situational or fleeting agency, which contributes to further a nuanced understanding of agency in the lives of Indian coolie women.


For more information, please visit: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/fleeting-agencies/7D6665787FAAB05DA94554B563615B32#fndtn-information


Best wishes,

Arunima Datta


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