All citations for the primary texts under consideration will be provided in the
individual chapter. I have chosen to spell Indian words without potentially
cumbersome diacritical marks or combinations of letters.
The invitation was extended to me as an Indian professor teaching in the area,
and I understand that the idea of an Indian woman teaching English at an
American university was, to the ambassador, both intriguing and appealing.
The fetishization of identity through clothing, in the ambassador's assertion of
cultural veracity, failed to take into account the "Indian" space wherein these
women chose to dress as Indian women. The inability often to wear one's indig-
enous garb in a Western public space was completely ignored by the ambassa-
dor, who had to assume that all the Indian women present always dressed as
such. In her essay "White Skin/Black Masks: The Pleasures and Politics of Im-
perialism," Gail Ching-Liang Low addresses the manner in which "clothes act
as signifiers within the locus of desire and pleasure"
in the phenomenon of
cultural cross-dressing in Anglo-Indian fiction-"the fantasy of the white man
disguised as 'native'" (83). In a fashion, even though the ambassador was re-
coding the issue of cultural cross-dressing for different purposes, he reiterated
Low's point that "clothes trap the essence of the east; they objectify it"
For an interesting evaluation of corporate-style multiculturalism and its influ-
ence on the public sphere, see the essays, introduced by Evan Watkins, in Social
44 (1995)·
Arjun Appadurai, in "The Heart of Whiteness," writes: "Even as the legitimacy
of nation-states in their own territorial contexts is increasingly under threat,
the idea of the nation flourishes transnationally. Safe from the depredations of
their home-states, diasporic communities become double loyal to their nations
of origin" (804).
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "In a Word: Interview," in Outside in the Teach-
ing Machine 3-4.
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