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Who Is an Alien?

Reading the Plural through Gandhi

Kumkum Sangari

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Who Is an Alien?
Alternative visions of our plural pasts are evacuated and erased, while strategies of labor import, discrimination, racialization, internal colonization, uncertain citizenship, border control, surveillance, ghettoization, the cordoning of land and resources for the few, morph and arc across the long twentieth century. The questions Gandhi asked about imperial nations and how free nations should be made remain unfinished questions at the core of casteist, racist, patriarchal and sectarian regimes. This book examines Gandhi’s struggle with the burden of received colonial historiography, legal systems, scriptural texts, racialized and patriarchal vocabulary in the attempt to confront colonial oppression and social exclusion. The openings and impasses, thresholds and limits, successes and failures are equally instructive when read as a series of resolved and unresolved contradictions.

Kumkum Sangari

Kumkum Sangari worked as a UGC Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, and is the William F. Vilas Research Professor of English and the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin––Milwaukee. She has published extensively on British, American and Indian literatures, literary and critical theory, religious conversion, South Asian medieval oral devotional traditions, nationalist figures such as M.K. Gandhi and Annie Besant, Bombay cinema and the partition, televisual memory, contemporary feminist art practice, as well as on personal law, domestic labour, the beauty industry, sex selection, dowry, domestic violence, widow immolation and communal violence. She is the author of Politics of the Possible: Essays on Gender, History, Narratives, Colonial English; the editor of Trace Retrace: Paintings, Nilima Sheikh; and the co-editor of Women and Culture, Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History and From Myths to Markets: Essays on Gender.