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HISTORY 396L: The Worlds of Labor in Modern India (ANTHRO 396F)

This graduate colloquium will introduce students to the exciting and expanding field of Indian labor history and provide them a comprehensive historiographical foundation in this area of historical research. Seminars will engage with one key monograph in the field every week, with selected chapters of the monograph set as compulsory reading. In these seminars, we will explore the world of the working classes and the urban poor in colonial and post-colonial India, as also the Indian labor diaspora. We will understand myriad workplaces such as jute and cotton mills, small workshops, farms and plantations. We will also explore forms of protest and political mobilization devised by workers in their struggles against structures of oppression and in their quest for a life of dignity. Most importantly, these seminars will train students in the methods deployed by labor historians to access the lives of the largely unlettered workers of the region who seldom left a trace of their consciousness in archival documents. Overall, we will connect the debates in the history of labor in modern India to wider discussions about the nature of capitalism, colonial modernity, gender, class, caste and culture.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5
Instructors: Shil, P. (PI)
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