115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

"The New Liberal Indian Woman": The Glocalization of Chick Lit 

Srijani Ghosh, University of California, Berkeley

Through an analysis of Swati Kaushal’s Piece of Cake (2004) and Aisha Bhatia’s Almost Single (2009), I will illustrate how Indian chick lit foregrounds the neo-liberal female subject of post-liberalisation India, and “glocalizes” its fetishism of American culture and a commodification of American cultural values. Indian chick lit represents what Rupal Oza has called “the new liberal Indian woman,” and this liberalization involves sexual autonomy and a consumer identity, along with a stern attempt at limiting “too much” Westernization. 

Proposal: 

Since the process of economic liberalization began in India in the 1990s, globalization opened channels for the circulation of Western popular literature and culture, the upshot of which was the creation of a tension between the globalized production of images and the localized adaptation of the same images. A good example of this phenomenon is Indian chick lit, which features plots that have a lot in common with mainstream chick lit[1] but are adapted into an Indian paradigm, complete with the popular Indian stereotypes to make it more relatable to “foreign” readers as well as popularize the media to the target Indian audience. Indian chick lit features women from middle class backgrounds as they navigate their way through work, relationship, and family issues. 

 

Through an analysis of Swati Kaushal’s Piece of Cake (2004) and Aisha Bhatia’s Almost Single (2009), I will illustrate how Indian chick lit foregrounds the neo-liberal female subject of post-liberalisation India, and “glocalizes” its fetishism of American culture and a commodification of American cultural values. Indian chick lit maintains a dynamic hybridity which depicts India’s shifting relation between “Indian-ness” and “modernity.” Chick lit represents what Rupal Oza has called “the new liberal Indian woman” and this liberalization involves sexual autonomy and a consumer identity, along with a stern attempt at limiting “too much” Westernization.

 


[1] Derived from the romance genre. Depicts young, urban, single, white, middle class women looking for love and having issues at work, both of which lead to comedic situations. 

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