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Marriage and Modernity: Family Values in Colonial Bengal Paperback – April 13, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Rochona Majumdar’s Marriage and Modernity is a fascinating discussion of the evolution of modern marriage practices in Bengal and India. . . . This book makes accessible in English a wide range of new and important Bengali-language materials. . . . South Asianists who believe that Bengal has been ‘over-studied’ and can contribute little new to the study of Indian or South Asian history will have to rethink their positions on reading this book.” - Judith Walsh, H-Net Reviews


“Majumdar’s engaging and well-written study stages a provocative argument: that arranged marriage and the joint Hindu family in India are modern historical forms. . . . Majumdar has compiled a rich and unique archive of social memorabilia for this project. . . . Majumdar has offered a sharp and readable study that will provoke interest and debate among historians of colonial and postcolonial India, feminist scholars, and anyone interested in the complexities of global modernity.” - Rachel Sturman, Asian Studies Review


“[T]his is a timely book that takes a fresh look at marriage in colonial Bengal. . . . Majumdar’s monograph adds a refreshing new chapter to the scholarship on gender on the subcontinent—on the that undoubtedly will clear ground for further debate. In its scope and argument, the book will appeal to historians of South Asia and to gender specialists, in particular to those who are interested in rethinking gender from a postcolonial perspective.” - Varuni Bhatia, Journal of Asian Studies


“The beauty of this elegant study is that it explains modern ideas of love as sacrifice, of family duty and devotion to one’s husband by setting them within a larger and material set of modern transformations that include consumer products and new institutional networks.” - Francesca Orsini, Social History


“Majumdar's discussion of the matrix of influences that impacted arranged marriage is a fascinating study in the modernization of customs.” - Eirene Faust, Feminist Review blog


“Modern marriages, Rochona Majumdar tells us in this engaging and insightful study, are not the same everywhere. The arranged marriages of privileged families in colonial Bengal turn out to have innovative standards, rituals, and property arrangements, which together reveal key dimensions of the contested relationships—among individuals, conjugal couples, and extended families—characteristic of Indian modernity.”—Barbara D. Metcalf, co-author of A Concise History of Modern India


“Rochona Majumdar’s provocative argument about Bengali arranged marriages as a sign of the colonial modern in India will generate both widespread interest and debate. This fresh and sparkling account of arranged marriages—constructed, in large part, on the basis of a richly rewarding archive made up of wedding invitations, menu cards, jewelry catalogues, and family photographs—succeeds at an important level; that is, in giving arranged marriages a history. No longer do these marriages appear only in their incarnation as markers of cultural tradition; rather, arranged marriages come to represent a complex field of social practices that are shaped by the tensions and contradictions of particular contexts. Marriage and Modernity is the kind of ambitious and imaginative book that will speak to multiple constituencies.”—Mrinalini Sinha, author of Specters of Mother India: The Global Restructuring of an Empire


“[T]his is a timely book that takes a fresh look at marriage in colonial Bengal. . . . Majumdar’s monograph adds a refreshing new chapter to the scholarship on gender on the subcontinent—on the that undoubtedly will clear ground for further debate. In its scope and argument, the book will appeal to historians of South Asia and to gender specialists, in particular to those who are interested in rethinking gender from a postcolonial perspective.”
(Varuni Bhatia, Journal of Asian Studies)

“Majumdar’s engaging and well-written study stages a provocative argument: that arranged marriage and the joint Hindu family in India are modern historical forms. . . . Majumdar has compiled a rich and unique archive of social memorabilia for this project. . . . Majumdar has offered a sharp and readable study that will provoke interest and debate among historians of colonial and postcolonial India, feminist scholars, and anyone interested in the complexities of global modernity.”
(Rachel Sturman, Asian Studies Review)

“Majumdar's discussion of the matrix of influences that impacted arranged marriage is a fascinating study in the modernization of customs.”
(Eirene Faust, Feminist Review blog)

“Rochona Majumdar’s Marriage and Modernity is a fascinating discussion of the evolution of modern marriage practices in Bengal and India. . . . This book makes accessible in English a wide range of new and important Bengali-language materials. . . . South Asianists who believe that Bengal has been ‘over-studied’ and can contribute little new to the study of Indian or South Asian history will have to rethink their positions on reading this book.”
(Judith Walsh, H-Net Reviews)

“The beauty of this elegant study is that it explains modern ideas of love as sacrifice, of family duty and devotion to one’s husband by setting them within a larger and material set of modern transformations that include consumer products and new institutional networks.”
(Francesca Orsini, Social History)

From the Back Cover

"Rochona Majumdar's provocative argument about Bengali arranged marriages as a sign of the colonial modern in India will generate both widespread interest and debate. This fresh and sparkling account of arranged marriages--constructed, in large part, on the basis of a richly rewarding archive made up of wedding invitations, menu cards, jewelry catalogues, and family photographs--succeeds at an important level; that is, in giving arranged marriages a history. No longer do these marriages appear only in their incarnation as markers of cultural tradition; rather, arranged marriages come to represent a complex field of social practices that are shaped by the tensions and contradictions of particular contexts. "Marriage and Modernity" is the kind of ambitious and imaginative book that will speak to multiple constituencies."--Mrinalini Sinha, author of "Specters of Mother India: The Global Restructuring of an Empire"
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