Women’s Press
Canada’s leading academic feminist publisher
Canada’s leading academic feminist publisher
211 pages
6 x 9 inches
January 2003
Print ISBN: 9780889614062
Purchase Options
Send To A Friend


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.

Related Titles

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


Amita Handa

Amita Handa has a doctorate in sociology and is a community-based research consultant. She is co-host of Masala Mixx on CKLN 88.1 FM, a radio program that presents a fusion of Eastern and Western music. She is also an editor and writer for BrownSugar, a New York-based art and culture magazine for South Asian women, produced by Vinita Srivastava.


"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

Student Resources

General Student Resource - Download