Colonial and Patriarchal Discourse(s) Interrogated: Indian Muslim Women’s Voices as Critique

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Closed Access

Degree Name

MA in Women's History


Women’s History Graduate Program


“Colonial and Patriarchal Discourse(s) Interrogated,” is a critique of dominant knowledge production about India and its people. I argue that the insertion of Muslim women’s voices and texts operates as a critique of colonial and patriarchal narrations about women while elucidating their multifaceted lived experiences. Examining colonial discourses together with women’s voices allows us to re-present such narrative constructions as contested spaces. Organized around three key themes - representations of Indian society and its people, the zenana and women’s place in the home, as well as women’s participation in public life - this study goes beyond any simplistic understanding of women and their lives and instead challenges its readers to look deeper at the complex experiences of Indian Muslim women. In sum, I argue that by using Muslim women’s self-representations we can find evidence of a resistance, and a break with dominant colonial and local patriarchies and ideologies, as well as signs of lives marked by contradiction.

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