Gravier Melina

Gravier Melina

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Women's Voices, Everyday Jewels: Religion, Economy and Property rights in Hindi and Urdu periodicals (1929-1950)
I am a historian studying women’s writings on jewelry and gold to examine property rights and their codification in religious personal laws in late colonial India. Weaving together religious studies, political economy and material history, I seek to write the story of women striving for economic rights in their everyday life. To secure assets during periods of economic crisis, women’s movable property played a crucial role in the family economy but also in British imperial policies and in capital markets. At the same time, jewels epitomized women’s virtues; they represented the moral property of religious communities and were used for regulating family relations in religious practices that entangled affective dimensions and economic transactions. Against this backdrop, I look into how economic insecurity and debt shaped women’s discourses on property rights, how religious and legal debates intervened in women’s daily lives, and what dangers they faced in voicing their rights. In drawing on a wide range of women’s periodicals and newspapers, as well as religious, trade and economic journals, I explore how women resorted to jewels to combat socioeconomic threats, question religious practices, and to imagine their rights in the context of greater historical developments stretching from the Great Depression to the early post-Independence period.


Evénements et manifestations


Worldly Magazines: Form, Circulation and Cultural Change (1-2 Dec 2022)
Conceived as a collaborative effort between scholars situated across Switzerland, the United States, and Canada, this conference looks to explore how the magazine form mediated diverse reading publics by circulating news, knowledge, and literature in creative ways. We hope to understand how magazines help think ‘the world’ as a material entity and abstract concept. ‘World,’ understood capaciously, gestures beyond a single geography to signal a plurality of historical, literary, and religious networks (e.g. the Indian Ocean and Islamic worlds). We examine how magazines emerged from and constituted such multiple worlds while cultivating consequential dispositions in their readers vis-à-vis other peoples, spaces, and cultures.


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