Fleeting Agencies: A Social History of Indian Coolie Women in British Malaya
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.
Cambridge University Press
1 Jan 2021 – 31 Dec 2021
Gender and Identity
Diasporas and Migration