This book examines the place of women—and more specifically women of the khit kala, “women of the times”—in colonialism and modernity in Burma. It attempts to uncover a forgotten or suppressed history of colonial interaction, imagination, and cosmopolitanism that is intertwined with the past of the “modern” woman who came into view in 1920s and 1930s Burma. It explores the shifting and competing figurations of the women of the khit kala and their relationship to what it meant to be or to become modern in colonial Burma. Chapters focus on the rise of educated women in the 1920s; the increasing politicization of women in the 1920s and 1930s; the women of the khit kala as a fashionista and as a housewife-and-mother; and negative perceptions of Burmese women who engaged in intimate relations with “foreign” men—that is, non-Buddhist, non-Burmese men.
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