This paper investigates the late colonial origins of Home Science in British India. It deals most intensively with the institutionalization of Home Science in Madras Presidency and attends to the roles played by both the colonial state and Indian women's organizations in its establishment. Though the focus is on Madras because the efforts of those based there influenced the later course of Home Science education, the activities of Madras educators, policy makers and reformers are also situated within a wider frame of transregional and imperial relations
forged through reform projects, missionization, travel and education. Consideration of Home Science education in this wider context reveals the socio-political constraints an opportunities of, as well as the ideological interests at work in, its establishment. The paper finds that, at its inception, Home Science was the product of strategic alliances
among colonial authorities, Indian social reformers, and Indian nationalists — all of whom, despite other differences, considered the home a site of and symbol for nationalist modernity. Home Science is shown to have relied on and helped shape a set of discourses that can be deemed ‘feminist nationalist’ in that they were engaged dialectically with anti-colonial nationalisms and with internationalist feminisms. Using Home Science as a lens, this paper provides a window on a set of late colonial debates that, informed by nationalist struggles and goals, sought to reshape the meaning and scope of both female agency and domesticity.