The Center for India and South Asia 2010 Annual Lecture presents "Engendering Technology: Machines as the Measure of Men (and Women)in Early 20th-Century India" By Professor David Arnold, University of Warwick
By the mid-20th century a wide range of modern machines were in daily use in India, including many (like bicycles, sewing machines, rice-mills and typewriters) that were of foreign origin. How were these everyday technologies, many of which first found use among Europeans, incorporated into the social and economic life of India? How did they change work regimes and transform or accentuate established gender roles? Michael Adas has argued for the importance of ‘machines as the measure of men’ in changing European perceptions of Asia, but how did machines inform Indian self-perceptions and understandings of race and gender in an age of growing urbanization, industrialization and nationalism? This illustrated lecture will reflect on the role of everyday technology in the shaping of Indian modernity and explore contending views of the gendered significance of the machine in daily life.
David Arnold is Professor of Asian and Global History at the University of Warwick in the UK. Formerly Professor of South Asian History at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, he is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Asiatic Society. His current research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK, focuses on ‘everyday technology’ in India between 1880 and 1960. A founder member of the Subaltern Studies collective, and a contributor to several of the Subaltern Studies volumes, David Arnold’s work has ranged widely over the political and social history of India from the late 18th to the mid-20th centuries. He has published extensively on medical history, including Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth-Century India (University of California Press, 1993), on environmental history (The Problem of Nature: Environment, Culture and European Expansion, Blackwell, 1996), on Science, Medicine and Technology in Colonial India for the New Cambridge History of India in 2000, and on botany and travel: The Tropics and the Traveling Gaze: India, Landscape, and Science, 1800-1856 (University of Washington Press, 2006). His study of Gandhi for the Longman ‘Profiles in Power’ series was published in 2001. He has recently revised for publication a second edition of Burton Stein’s History of India (2010) and written a History of South Asia to be published in German by Fischer in 2011.
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