ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Debates on Colonial Social Life

The Government of Social Life in Colonial India:Liberalism, Religious Law and Women's Rights by Rachel Sturman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 2012; pp 310, $103.

In this book, the legal historian Rachel Sturman argues for a new political significance for the realm of the social – in particular to issues of religion, family and women – in the colonial period in India. Of course, by itself, this is not a new or startling contention, but Sturman’s point of argument is one that has been largely unexplored, that the practices of governance that emerged in relation to the colonial state’s engagement with the “social” in 19th and 20th centuries were specifically linked to the distinctive form of the modern liberal state. It is with this perspective she examines colonial debates on religious law, the family, and women’s rights in the specific context of the Hindu law in colonial western India (Bombay Presidency).

Personhood, Society and State

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