The Meaning of White: Race, Class, and the 'Domiciled Community' in British India 1858-1930

The Meaning of White: Race, Class, and the 'Domiciled Community' in British India 1858-1930

by Satoshi Mizutani


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From 1858 to 1930 the concept of whiteness in British India was complex and contradictory. Under the Raj, the spread of racial ideologies was pervasive, but whiteness was never taken as self-evident. It was constantly called into question and its boundaries were disciplined and policed through socio-cultural and institutional practices.

Only those whites with social status, cultural refinement, and the right level of education were able to command the respect and awe of colonized subjects. Among those who straddled the boundaries of whiteness were the 'domiciled community', made up of mixed-descent 'Eurasians' and racially unmixed 'Domiciled Europeans', both of whom lived in India on a permanent basis. Members of this community, or those who were categorized as such under the Raj, unwittingly rendered the meaning of whiteness ambiguous in fundamental ways.

The colonial authorities quickly identified the domiciled community as a particularly malign source of political instability and social disorder, and were constantly urged to furnish various institutional measures - predominantly philanthropic and educational by character - that specifically targeted its degraded conditions. The Meaning of White reveals the precise ways in which the existence of this community was identified as a problem (the 'Eurasian Question') and examines the deeper historical meanings of this categorization. Dr Mizutani demystifies the ideology of whiteness, situating it within the concrete social realities of colonial history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199697700
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/01/2012
Series: Oxford Historical Monographs
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Satoshi Mizutani was educated at Sophia University (Japan), the University of Warwick, and St. Antony's College, Oxford before obtaining a DPhil from the History Faculty at Oxford.

Table of Contents

1. British prestige and fears of colonial degeneration
2. The origins and emergence of the 'domiciled community'
3. The 'Eurasian Question': the domiciled poor and urban social control
4. 'European schools': illiteracy, unemployment, and educational uplifting
5. Towards a solution to the Eurasian Question: child removal and juvenile emigration
6. Disputing the domiciliary divide: civil-service employment and the claim for equivalence
7. Conclusion: Race, class, and the contours of whiteness in late British India

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