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“Taste is Eternal”: The Kashmiri Shawl, Women, and Imperialism


“Taste is Eternal”: The Kashmiri Shawl, Women, and Imperialism

Carberry, Katherine (2021) “Taste is Eternal”: The Kashmiri Shawl, Women, and Imperialism. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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In the first fifty years of the nineteenth century, the Kashmiri shawl was one of the most valued and enduring pieces of clothing a British woman could possess. Its luxe fabric and intricate boteh, or Paisley patterns, attracted British consumers, who used the accessory to formulate an understanding of South Asia and British imperialism. Literary scholars and art historians have devoted attention to how shawls in British art and print culture reflect broader topics such as class and Empire. Meanwhile, historians have situated the Kashmiri shawl in a global context and outlined its trajectories.
This thesis combines these approaches while also following the shawl’s movement within British society by considering how shawls circulated between women and on the second-hand market. In an effort to demonstrate how the Kashmiri shawl, a fashionable garment of South Asian origin, came to embody the changing character of British womanhood, this thesis argues that Kashmiri shawls were powerful symbols of imperialism and wealth which British women used to express their agency and identity. In doing so, this work also sheds light on nineteenth-century concerns surrounding female sexuality and the instability of racial and cultural identity within an expanding British Empire.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Carberry, Katherine
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:4 August 2021
Thesis Supervisor(s):Berger, Rachel
ID Code:989043
Deposited By: Katherine Carberry
Deposited On:29 Nov 2021 16:32
Last Modified:29 Nov 2021 16:32
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