Weaving Histories: The Transformation of the Handloom Industry in South India, 1800-1960

ISBN : 9780197266731

Karuna Dietrich Wielenga
272 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Sep 2020
Send mail

This book examines the transformation of the handloom industry in south India between 1800 and 1960 and its wider implications for the Indian economy. It employs a unusual array of sources, including paintings and textile samples as well as archival records, to excavate the links between cotton growing, spinning and weaving before the nineteenth century. The rupture of these connections produced a sea-change in the lives of ordinary weavers. New technologies reshaped production systems and markets for cotton and cloth were transformed under the pressure of global trade. The book uncovers these global connections and their human impact, especially on makers of coarse cloth and women workers. After the First World War, the handloom industry became a key battleground for struggles over workers' rights. This emerging regulatory framework, in turn, exerted a strong influence on the economic trajectory of India after independence.


List of Illustrations
1 The Geography of Weaving: South India in the Early Nineteenth Century
2 Statistics, Looms and People: The Changing Contours of the Handloom Industry
3 From Cotton to Cloth: The Linking Threads
4 Weaving: Changing Structures
5 Caste and Work
6 Solidarity and Action
7 The State and the Weaver
Appendix: Note on the Loom Tax

About the author: 

After obtaining her Ph.D from the University of Delhi, Karuna Dietrich Wielenga was a Newton International Fellow at Oxford University. She is a historian of south Asia and her research interests span economic, social and labour history. She has worked on the history of handlooms, labour legislation, and the emergence of the informal sector in India. Her papers have been published in Modern Asian Studies and the International Review of Social History among other journals. She currently teaches at Azim Premji University in Bangalore, India.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.