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The Department of History Colloquium Series presents the 3rd Annual Driedger Lecture sponsored by the Driedger Fund. This event is co-sponsored by Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, Women Scholars' Speakers Series and the Prentice Institute.
Title: Anatomy of a Protest: The Abolition of Indian Indentured Labor in the British Empire
Guest Speaker: Dr. Mrinalini Sinha (University of Michigan)
Day/Date: Friday, February 2, 2018
Location: PE-250 (Sports & Wellness Building, University of Lethbridge)
Time: 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Reception to follow presentation.
Abstract: Kunti, a dalit (“untouchable” caste) woman, became the poster child for the nation-wide movement in India against the abolition of the system of indentured labor in 1917. The system, managed by the colonial government in India, had supplied approximately 1.3 million workers from India to plantations overseas in the aftermath of the abolition of Atlantic slavery in the 1830s. This paper explores how a woman at the very bottom of the caste hierarchy in India became the face for an empire-wide change. It will argue that Kunti’s role in the movement illustrates an important dimension of the abolitionist movement: the construction of the “people” (or the demos) as the subject of a new kind of politics in late colonial India.
Guest Speaker bio: Mrinalini Sinha is a historian of colonial India and of the British empire. She is the Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a former President of the Association of Asian Studies. She is the author of Colonial Masculinity: The ‘manly Englishman’ and the ‘effeminate Bengali’ in the late 19th century (1995) and Specters of Mother India: The Global Restructuring of an Empire (2006). She is currently working on a book on the politics of the interwar period in India.
The Driedger Fund supports the study of history through scholarships and special events, and is made possible by Dr. Gerhard Driedger's children to honour their father's lifelong love of history.
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