The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau - Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies (Paperback)
  • The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau - Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies (Paperback)
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The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau - Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies (Paperback)

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Paperback 232 Pages / Published: 26/09/2007
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Santha Rama Rau was one of the best known South Asian writers in postwar America. Born into India's elite in 1923, Rama Rau has lived in the United States since the 1940s. Although she is no longer well known, she was for several decades a popular expert on India. She provided an insider's view of Indian cultures, traditions, and history to an American public increasingly aware of the expanded role of the United States on the world stage. Between 1945 and 1970, Rama Rau published half a dozen books, including travelogues, novels, a memoir, and a Time-Life cookbook; she was a regular contributor to periodicals such as the New Yorker, the New York Times, McCall's, and Reader's Digest.

Drawing on archival research and interviews with Rama Rau, historian Antoinette Burton opens Rama Rau's career into an examination of orientalism in the postwar United States, the changing idioms of cosmopolitanism in the postcolonial era, and the afterlife of British colonialism in the American public sphere. Burton describes how Rama Rau's career was shaped by gendered perceptions of India and "the East" as well as by the shifting relationships between the United States, India, Pakistan, and Great Britain during the Cold War. Exploring how Rama Rau positioned herself as an expert on both India and the British empire, Burton analyzes the correspondence between Rama Rau and her Time-Life editors over the contents of her book The Cooking of India (1969), and Rama Rau's theatrical adaptation of E. M. Forster's A Passage to India, which played on Broadway in 1961 and was the basis for David Lean's 1985 film. Burton assesses the critical reception of Rama Rau's play as well as her correspondence with Forster and Lean.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822340713
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 336 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"In The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau, Antoinette Burton produces a notably intelligent and counterintuitive reading of the forgotten and/or trivialized genealogies of colonial/postcolonial cosmopolitanism. Focusing on the career of a putatively minor writer with a complex relationship to the project of decolonization, Cold War politics, U.S. civil rights movements, and corporate publishing, Burton re-inflects the ways we have been accustomed to thinking about gendered professionalism, celebrity status, minoritization, and the history of postcolonial theory. What is most impressive is the way that she manages to make something densely textured and timely out of materials that might otherwise be relegated to antiquarian interest alone."-Parama Roy, author of Indian Traffic: Identities in Question in Colonial and Postcolonial India
"Once again Antoinette Burton proves to be a trailblazer in the study of imperial culture. Here Burton breaks new ground by forcing us to think anew the place of the postcolonial public intellectual. She takes a risk by focusing on the admittedly 'minor' and yet remarkable career of Santha Rama Rau, whose moment of celebrity in the United States was shaped by the particular conjunction of postwar decolonization with Cold War-U.S. imperialism and Nehruvian Indian nationalism. Burton's dazzling account of Rama Rau's career, told with characteristic verve and imagination, pays handsome dividends: it offers nothing short of a rich and multilayered genealogy of postcolonial cosmopolitanism. Her virtuoso reading of the production and reception of Rama Rau's writings provides the mediation between an individual career and the larger social forces of the time."-Mrinalini Sinha, author of Specters of Mother India: The Global Restructuring of an Empire

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