Dangerous Outcast

The Prostitute In Nineteenth-Century Bengal

Sumanta Banerjee


6 x 9 inches, 256 pp. April 2019

ISBN : 9780857426154

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Dangerous Outcast traces how, from the peripheries of precolonial Bengali rural society, prostitutes came to dominate the centrestage in Calcutta, the capital of British India—thanks to the emergence of a new clientele brought forth by the colonial order. While examining the policies the British administration implemented to revamp the profession to suit its needs, this volume also analyses the class structure within the prostitute community of the time; its complex relationship with the Bengali bhadralok (that is, prosperous, well-educated) society; and the voices of the prostitutes themselves, which we hear from their songs, letters and writings, collected and reproduced from both oral tradition and printed sources. Exhaustively documented, drawing upon diverse contemporary records, Dangerous Outcast is a major contribution to the research on nineteeth-century Bengal as well as women's studies.

Sumanta Banerjee is an historian, journalist and cultural theorist. He has been a leading public intellectual for many decades and has earlier been a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla. His most recent publications include Memoirs of RoadsCalcutta from Colonial Urbanization to Global Modernization.


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