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Genealogies of the Intimate: The Sensate Home of the Middle-Class

By: SWATI CHATTERJEE

During the nineteenth-century, Calcutta witnessed an unprecedented churning of the urban cauldron and some of the apparently innocuous masalas were certain indispensible characters and hitherto un-experienced commodities. Unimpeded by the imperialist nationalist discourses, that predominated the century, the exigencies of daily urban living led to imperceptible shifts in the social codes of living. It is in this vein that, the paper argues, urbanity experienced by the relevant embodied subjects had a catalytic bearing in reformatting their sensorial registers. The paper, delving into the riches of the contemporary repositories,gleans out the persons who were unavoidable in the colonial urban backdrop and were quite crucial in smudging the boundaries between the inner and the outer world of the bhadralok, namely: the housemaid and the cook. Then the gaze is turned on the staggered entries of frowned upon food in the middle-class households which was aided partially by the aforesaid onslaught and dictated by the newly realised rules of comfort and health.


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