Infanticide and Abortion in Colonial India, c. 1856- 1929

Spring 2023 GGR Recipient

Rashmi Banerjee (History)

My doctoral project examines the complex legal and social attitudes towards women who committed 'reproductive crimes' such as infanticide and abortion in colonial India. Through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, rapid professionalization of the medical sphere and growing natalist concerns across the globe led to tightening state control over women's reproductive practices. Against this backdrop, I investigate how the colonial Indian state sought to tackle reproductive crime through policing and prosecution of 'criminal women' and broad-scale legal and medical reforms and how native women dealt with such bureaucratic interventions.