Elena Valdameri


Dr. Elena Valdameri


Max Weber College, University of Erfurt

Fellow: 15 April 2020 – 15 July 2020

Curriculum Vitae

Detailed CV

Research Project

Elena Valdameri is a historian working on the history of modern South Asia, with specific interest and expertise in the history of political thought and the anticolonial movement. She received her Ph.D. from the State University of Milan in 2015, with a dissertation on the political thought of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, liberal leader of the Indian National Congress, which will soon be published by Routledge as her first book. After completing her doctoral studies, she taught History of South Asia and Southeast Asia at the University of Pavia and she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair for History of the Modern World, at ETH-Zurich and junior fellow at ICAS:MP in Delhi.

Physical Education and Femininity in India (1900s – 1970s): Global Trends and Local Politics towards Crafting Women Citizens

This project examines the role of physical education and outdoor activities for women in late colonial and early independent India as a part of broader programs that were concerned with citizen-crafting and with the transmission of norms and values associated with ‘good’ female citizenship in the period. The research investigates the initiatives promoted by different state and non-state actors such as political, cultural, missionary, and (quasi-)military associations that adopted physical culture as an instrument to ‘uplift’ women. While considering the transnational trajectories and global tendencies in terms of theories, debates, and practices of crafting healthy and (re-)productive female citizens, the project explores if and how the imparted physical education affected gender norms and created spaces to claim new rights and to modify existing citizenship codes.

From Indian Ladies’ Magazine, Apr.–Jun. 1916
girls pyramid
Girls performing a pyramid combination at the College of Physical Education in Madras in 1940 from J.P. Thomas, History of the Y.M.C.A. College of Physical Education Madras (Madras: YMCA Press, 1989)