Recollecting the Body: Violence and Resistance in the Writings of a Theatre Actress in Colonial Bengal
Critical interventions by black, third world, and/or postcolonial feminists against the homogenizing tendencies of majoritarian narratives of women have led to the emergence of intersectional feminist scholarship and its endeavour to postulate women’s stories along the interfaces of race, class, caste, and gender hierarchies. Historicizing social and material bodies has been a constant engagement here, resulting in the analysis of symbiotic processes of subject formation and otherization, thereby entailing a confrontation with the heterogeneous nature of violence and its functioning in such processes. Using such scholarship, this article seeks to comprehend the interplay of various forms of violence in the historical production of given identities and spaces relegated to the bodies of the Other – the Other of Hindu elite women. To do so, this article explores the sub-world of women in the commercial theatre of Bengal during the late colonial period (late 19th to early 20th century). Through a close and critical reading of the writings of one of the most popular actresses of Bengali theatre during those times, Binodini Dasi, the article illuminates the ways in which violence has functioned on the actress to reproduce an otherized body. For the second objective, the article analyses how the actress subverts through the act of writing such subjection of violence. It can be argued that the actresses’ writings do not specifically symbolize an unadulterated agential voice; instead, the effect of violence is such that the interiorities of the actress emanate anguish, inhabiting a liminal space between resistance and subversion.
"Recollecting the Body: Violence and Resistance in the Writings of a Theatre Actress in Colonial Bengal,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
6, Article 7.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss6/7