The Temporalities of Work: Labour Patterns and Politics in Bombay Cotton Mills, 1875 - 1900
Hatice Yildiz, WIGH Fellow; Lecturer in Modern Gender History, University of Edinburgh
Graduate Student Commentator: Jibran Anand, PhD Candidate in History, University of Delhi, India
Faculty Commentator: Ravinder Kaur, WIGH Visiting Fellow; Associate Professor of Modern South Asian Studies; University of Copenhagen
ABSTRACT: The cotton textile industry formed the mainstay of Bombay’s economy under the British rule. It accounted for about three-quarters of the workforce engaged in factories. Its development shaped economic activities both in the city and its wide hinterland. Based on an analysis of official and unofficial sources, including photographs, memoirs, and newspaper articles, this research explores the patterns of time use in Bombay cotton spinning and weaving factories in the late nineteenth century. It suggests that a transition from irregular to regular work patterns did not occur with the emergence of mechanised production in Bombay. Rather, industrial capitalism flourished through a complex interaction of task-oriented and clock-measured labour, producing divergent temporal experiences for female and male operatives.
This graduate-faculty research seminar is designed to bring together interested faculty and students on a continuing basis to cover topics on global history. It is part of History 2950A/B, History of Global Capitalism, and includes both reading sessions designed for graduate students and research sessions open to the interested public during which students and faculty participants will present current research. Faculty participants will be drawn from a number of schools, and, most especially, from the group of fellows in global history who are spending the academic year 2020-2021 at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History. Discussions will be moderated by Professors Sven Beckert and Sophus Reinert.
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