Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur is published by C Hurst and Co priced £ It is available from the Guardian. In , a young woman sailed from India to Guiana as a “coolie”—the British name for indentured laborers who replaced the newly emancipated slaves on. Coolie Woman. The Odyssey of Indenture. Gaiutra Bahadur. SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE ‘A genealogical page-turner interwoven with a.

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But women often were trying to womam some sort of impossible, outcast life in India. But the account has turned into more of a research paper than a personalized story of her great grandmother’s leaving of India as a Coolie Woman.

Coolie Woman – Wikipedia

But the book is more than this: Archived from the original on 3 March Oct 11, Janice Odywsey rated it it was ok Shelves: Drawing from a odysseg range of pertinent primary and secondary sources, the work can definitely be used as a source of valuable corroborative details in both academic and nonacademic engagements with the Indian indenture system. They paint landscapes, advance the plot, convey a tone.

Women slaves — Guyana — History — 20th century. Read our cookies policy. This solution presented itself by accident.

Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, Bahadur

No trivia or quizzes yet. She contextualizes historical and contemporary sexual and GBV in the context of indenture and colonialism, a worthwhile antidote to the racist discourse which uses GBV violence to justify white supremacy as if it was created in a vacuum. Coolie Woman chronicles their epic passage from Calcutta to the Caribbean, from departures akin either to kidnap or escape, through sea voyages rife with sexploitation, to new worlds where women were in short supply.

Open Preview See a Problem? The desire, particularly for woman, to seek exile from their existing social predicaments- yet only to endure another form of s A work of remarkable excavation, shedding light on the history of indenture- not only as a system, but its impact on diaspora identity too.


It also precipitated uprisings, as a struggle between Indian men and their women intersected with one between coolies and their overlords. No real transition or flow. Greatly outnumbered by men, they were able to use sex with their overseers to gain various advantages, an act that often incited fatal retaliations from coolie men and sometimes larger uprisings of laborers against their overlords.

It is solidly researched and as such it reveals the difficulty of understanding the human lives concealed within documents. Sarah Philips rated it it was amazing Jan 21, Dec 02, Krissy rated it really liked it. Where a culture of domestic abuse, alcoholism and dysfunctional sexual relations became common. Romero, Ivette 31 May So which was her story? Outside the USA, see our international sales information.

Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture

Dec 03, Chand rated it it was amazing. Gaiutra Bahadur is an American writer. The writer excavates new ore from old seams. The writer excavates new fo from old seams.

Brahmans — Social conditions. A lyric essay previewing her current book project, which explores the idea of America through its 20th-century entanglements with her home country, runs in the current issue of the Australian literary magazine The Griffith Review. I found myself surprised because with many of these type of history books, focusing on a particular cultural group and written by womwn member of said group, there is a tendency to romanticize the story.

I haven’t read much about indentured cpolie in the British Empire but immediately want to after this book. Thank you for using the catalog. She also excavates the repressed history of some quarter of a million female coolies.

South Asia Biography and Letters History: Life is changed in the form unimaginable in India. Good history here is a good read as well. To enter their unknown and to some extent unknowable history, I had to turn to alternative, unofficial sources.


The narrative is a multi-layered exploration of exile, colonialism, gender dynamics in a world of mercilessly skewed gender ratios, the ensuing jealousies and violence against women spoiled for choice of sexual partners and the forging of a new community identity shaped in equal parts by what has 4.

Bahadur handles this history without compromise, imbuing it with prismatic context, deepening the true stories that can be told about the journeys that so many women undertook. Teju Cole, author of Open City. So many things make sense now. Shunned by society, and sometimes in mortal danger, many coolie women were either runaways, widows, or outcasts.

Archived from the original on 4 May Quotes from Coolie Woman: Those who wish to find romantic myths in the past to power deeply conservative ideas about the present, and the role of women in an imagined future, will find little to work with here. Bahadur’s family left the island, whereas most of mine still remain in Jamaica. Nov 18, Pritam added it. Library Journal Review Guyana-born U. Jun 24, Tricia rated it liked it Shelves: Join our mailing list.

Traversing three continents and trawling through countless colonial archives, Bahadur excavates not only her great-grandmother’s story but also the repressed history of some quarter of a million other coolie women, shining a light on their complex lives.

A fugitive from an abusive marriage? But she is careful to stress that coolie ships were not slave ships; indentured women also played games, sang, worshipped, fell in love and began the process of re-inventing themselves for their new lives.