Imagining the 'Oriental' woman: Australian soldiers in Imperial India

Gehrmann, Richard (2008) Imagining the 'Oriental' woman: Australian soldiers in Imperial India. In: 9th International Women in Asia Conference: Transition and Interchange, 29 Sep - 1 Oct 2008, Brisbane, Australia.

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This paper examines the representation of women by Australian soldiers in Imperial India. For many Australians, India is a part of Asia that is often forgotten, despite a long shared history under the auspices of the British Empire. In 1947 neutralist India
gained independence from Great Britain just as Australia began to be increasingly identified with the Western Alliance in the Cold War. While Indian and Australian
history have moved apart since 1947, in the colonial era significant ties existed between these two subordinate components of the British Empire. This is particularly
noteworthy when the military dimensions of the relationship between India and Australia are examined. In the decades prior to Indian independence, several hundred Australian male and female soldiers lived and worked in India either as part of the long term British imperial military establishment, or on short term exchange postings to India. This paper explores the representation of women in India by these soldiers, concluding that unrealistic (and unattainable) 'orientalist imaginings' of the exotic shaped Australian expectations and representations of women at this time.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2012 07:32
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 01:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia, India, military in India, representation of women
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160607 International Relations
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160604 Defence Studies
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210302 Asian History
Socio-Economic Objective: A Defence > 81 Defence > 8101 Defence > 810102 Army
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past

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