KCHR Webinar

The ‘Home Science’ of Gendering Food: A Colonial Consequence


Dr. Deepa Gopalakrishnan

Assistant Professor, Department of History

Co-Operative Arts and Science College, Madayi, Kannur

Date & Time: 15th June 2023, Thursday, 3.00PM (IST)



Abstract: The symbiotic relation between gender and food has become one of the academic areas where historical and political investigations are initiated. In the light of the recent  scholarships and insights, the present paper focuses on the transformation that came  over in the gender roles, in connection with food and cooking in colonial Malabar under  the project of colonial modernity. It is observed that the Victorian ideologies in colonial  rule have made the act of cooking much more gendered than in the pre-colonial period.  The colonial education policies had encouraged imperial domesticity in the  colonies. The introduction of a new curriculum on cooking in educational institutions  made the middle class women praise the act of cooking in the 19th and 20th century  through the magazines and periodicals edited by them. This paper is an attempt to analyse how gender roles in cooking were reshaped under the project of colonial  modernity in Malabar. 

Bio note: Dr. Deepa Gopalakrishnan is an Assistant Professor of History at the Department of History, Co-Operative Arts and Science College Madayi, Kannur. She holds a postgraduate degree in History from the Department of History, NSS College, Manjeri. Her MPhil focused on "The Food Culture of Eranad: A Historical Study" from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, and her PhD research delved into "The Politics of Food and Cuisine: Religion, Power, and Gender in the Making of Food in Colonial Malabar" under the guidance of Dr. E.N. Lakshmanan from the Department of History at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady.

During her doctoral studies, Dr. Gopalakrishnan was awarded a junior research fellowship by the Kerala Council for Historical Research. Her research interests primarily lie in the field of Gender History and Cultural History. She has also authored a book titled "Kerala Bhakshana," which explores aspects of food culture in Kerala.