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Of Silk Saris & Mini-Skirts
South Asian Girls Walk the Tightrope of Culture
By Amita Handa
Dr. Handa explores issues surrounding the way identity is imagined and constructed by South Asian girls, women and South Asian community workers in Toronto. The author also examines ways in which young South Asian women are constructed and represented through discourses of race, nation, culture and community.
Using feedback from her interviews, the author discusses South Asian women's struggle with the threat of the erosion of their authentic cultural practices. Handa's critical theoretical perspective illuminates how South Asian women struggle to live within the boundaries of cultural preservation at the same time that they embrace aspects of the communities in which they live. She explores whether they both desire and are excluded from Canadian cultural hegemony. She also examines the theoretical implications of exclusion and conversely, the problematic of cultural preservation.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Beginnings: The Telling of Secrets
Chapter Two: From Mataji to Myself: Formations of East and West
Chapter Three: Modest and Modern: Women as Markers of the Indian Nation State
Chapter Four: Fusion or Confusion? Multicultural Doublespeak
Chapter Five: The Hall of Shame: Lies, Masks, and Respectful Femininity
Chapter Six: A Patch of "Indian": Music, Fashion, and Dances
Chapter Seven: Endings: From Barbie to Bindis
"Of Silk Saris and Mini-Skirts conveys a thoughtful and well-researched argument about the secrets and lies, pride and strength – in essence, the fragmentation and perseverance that characterize the lives of second generation South Asian women in the diaspora."— Meera Sethi, Anoki Vibe
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