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Becoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late-Victorian Empire (Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies)

ISBN-13: 978-0822346081
ISBN-10: 0822346087
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Banerjee] offers both a theoretical corrective to the erasures and elisions of nationalist histories and a thicker account of Indian civil society, in all its global reach and complexity, in the waning years of empire. . . . Becoming Imperial Citizens makes valuable contributions to the fields of postcolonial historiography, social and political theory, and the literary and cultural history of South Asia. Scholars of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Britain and the empire more generally will also find much here to extend and complicate existing research in their fields.” - Zak Sitter, Review 19


“Banerjee’s study narrows the gap between canonical accounts of anticolonial struggle, on the one hand, and nationalist history, on the other. . . . [T]his book is indispensible reading for those who want to understand the timing of nationalisms sponsored by colonial modernity. For by far the most far-reaching of Banerjee’s provocations is her suggestion that the ideas about ‘Indian’ citizenship that ended up being enshrined in the 1950 constitution were in train well before the founding of the nation itself—a state of anticipation conditioned, if not fully determined, by empire and entangled irrevocably in its postcolonial histories.” - Antoinette Burton, Journal of British Studies


“That Sukanya Banerjee's intellectual project is a magnificently ambitious
one is evident in the very first pages of Becoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late Victorian Empire. Penetrating the far reaches of British colonial influence during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the work nimbly excavates an increasingly intimate commerce of peoples, ideas, labors, and services—in, and through which, the Empire gained sway, consolidated itself, was threatened, and finally began to gag and lose its grip.” - Manisha Basu, Modern Fiction Studies


This is an elegantly-written and well-constructed book. . . . Banerjee’s book, forming part of the Next Wave: New Directions in Women’s Studies series, will appeal to readers interested in gaining an insight into the interconnected, shifting, and at times conflicting, social, cultural, political and economic
trends and ideological debates that marked the trajectory of late-Victorian imperialism.”
- Troy Downs, South Asia


Becoming Imperial Citizens is a virtuoso performance. It is written with verve, confidence, and elegance, and it is based on immense scholarship. Sukanya Banerjee’s exploration of an elite native Indian politics that preceded the anticolonial nationalist movement shows how citizenship can be (and has been) located outside the frame of the (free) nation. This compelling and important argument is bound to affect thinking in many fields, including political theory, colonial history, and postcolonial and feminist studies.”—Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, author of The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, and Citizenship in Postcolonial India


“There is no refusing Sukanya Banerjee’s very persuasive argument about the importance of studying the complexities of citizenship prior to the arrival of nationhood. Where previous scholarship has seen only the obsequious colonial subject, Banerjee discloses an early-twentieth-century, transnationally constituted, and carefully honed political, professional, and personal identity: that of the imperial citizen. This is an outstanding, extremely well-written book, with a prodigious amount of new archival research and a clear line of argument from start to finish.”—Rosemary M. George, author of The Politics of Home: Postcolonial Relocations and Twentieth-Century Fiction


“What is most valuable about Becoming Imperial Citizens is Sukanya Banerjee’s attention to formulations of citizenship other than that of the normative, rights-bearing citizen of the nation-state. Banerjee examines how differently positioned subjects of the colonial state conceived of themselves as citizens of the British Empire, and the kinds of belonging they enacted despite being denied the benefits of official, full citizenship. She also makes the valuable and vital linkages between imperial citizenship and diasporic belongings, thereby bringing colonial and postcolonial histories into conversations with questions of globalization.”—Inderpal Grewal, author of Transnational America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms


“[Banerjee] offers both a theoretical corrective to the erasures and elisions of nationalist histories and a thicker account of Indian civil society, in all its global reach and complexity, in the waning years of empire. . . . Becoming Imperial Citizens makes valuable contributions to the fields of postcolonial historiography, social and political theory, and the literary and cultural history of South Asia. Scholars of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Britain and the empire more generally will also find much here to extend and complicate existing research in their fields.”
(Zak Sitter, Review 19)

“Banerjee’s study narrows the gap between canonical accounts of anticolonial struggle, on the one hand, and nationalist history, on the other. . . . [T]his book is indispensible reading for those who want to understand the timing of nationalisms sponsored by colonial modernity. For by far the most far-reaching of Banerjee’s provocations is her suggestion that the ideas about ‘Indian’ citizenship that ended up being enshrined in the 1950 constitution were in train well before the founding of the nation itself—a state of anticipation conditioned, if not fully determined, by empire and entangled irrevocably in its postcolonial histories.”
(Antoinette Burton, Journal of British Studies)

“That Sukanya Banerjee's intellectual project is a magnificently ambitious one is evident in the very first pages of Becoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late Victorian Empire. Penetrating the far reaches of British colonial influence during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the work nimbly excavates an increasingly intimate commerce of peoples, ideas, labors, and services—in, and through which, the Empire gained sway, consolidated itself, was threatened, and finally began to gag and lose its grip.”
(Manisha Basu, Modern Fiction Studies)

This is an elegantly-written and well-constructed book. . . . Banerjee’s book, forming part of the Next Wave: New Directions in Women’s Studies series, will appeal to readers interested in gaining an insight into the interconnected, shifting, and at times conflicting, social, cultural, political and economic trends and ideological debates that marked the trajectory of late-Victorian imperialism.”
(Troy Downs, South Asia)

From the Publisher

"Becoming Imperial Citizens is a virtuoso performance. It is written with verve, confidence, and elegance, and it is based on immense scholarship. Sukanya Banerjee's exploration of an elite native Indian politics that preceded the anticolonial nationalist movement shows how citizenship can be (and has been) located outside the frame of the (free) nation. This compelling and important argument is bound to affect thinking in many fields including political theory, colonial history, and postcolonial and feminist studies."-- Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, author of The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, Citizenship in Postcolonial India <P> "There is no refusing Sukanya Banerjee's very persuasive argument about the importance of studying the complexities of citizenship prior to the arrival of nationhood. Where previous scholarship has seen only the obsequious colonial subject, Banerjee discloses an early-twentieth-century, transnationally constituted, and carefully honed political, professional, and personal identity: that of the imperial citizen. This is an outstanding, extremely well-written book, with a prodigious amount of new archival research and a clear line of argument from start to finish."--Rosemary M. George, author of The Politics of Home: Postcolonial Relocations and Twentieth-Century Fiction --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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