Pandita Ramabai's American Encounter

Pandita Ramabai's American Encounter

The Peoples of the United States (1889)
Pandita Ramabai
Translated and edited by Meera Kosambi
Distribution: World
Publication date: 1/30/2003
ISBN: 978-0-253-10965-1
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Description

" . . . [A] rare and remarkable insight into an Indian woman's take on American culture in the 19th century, refracted through her own experiences with British colonialism, Indian nationalism, and Christian culture on no less than three continents. . . . a fabulous resource for undergraduate teaching." —Antoinette Burton

In the 1880s, Pandita Ramabai traveled from India to England and then to the U.S., where she spent three years immersed in the milieu of progressive social reform movements of the day. Born into a Brahmin family and widowed while still young, she converted to Christianity while in England. In India, she was an activist for the education of women and the improvement of the status of widows. Abroad, she was iconized as a champion of the “oppressed Hindu woman.” The Peoples of the United States is Ramabai’s comprehensive description of American life, ranging from government to economy, education to domestic activity. As an account of a Western society by an Indian woman and a feminist, it reverses the established equation of male, Orientalist travel narratives. First published in Marathi in 1889, it is offered here in an elegant and engaging English translation by Meera Kosambi, who also provides a critical introduction and extensive annotations.

Author Bio

Meera Kosambi is former Professor and Director, Research Centre for Women’s Studies, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai. Her other books include Pandita Ramabai Through Her Own Words: Selected Works.

Reviews

"In the Indiana edition, feminist scholar Kosambi . . . provides an excellent introduction that places Ramabai's account in several contexts . . . [and] does an excellent job of comparing and contrasting the US setting as described by Ramabai with the Indian society of her day." —Choice

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Table of Contents

Preliminary :

Part I: Introduction
Returning the American Gaze: Situating Pandita Ramabai's American Encounter by Meera Kosambi

Part II: The Peoples of the United States by Pandita Ramabai
Preface
1. Voyage from Liverpool to Philadelphia
2. The "Nethermost World," or Continent of America
3. System of Government
4. Social Conditions
5. Domestic Conditions
6. Education and Learning
7. Religious Denominations and Charities
8. The Condition of Women
9. Commerce and Industry