Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

6/1/2008 - 7/31/2008

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Caste and The Colonial City

FAIN: FT-56412-08

Anupama P. Rao
Barnard College (New York, NY 10027-6909)

Turn of the century Bombay was a magnet for untouchable groups who sought to escape the social oppression and material deprivation of rural life. Caste and the Colonial City explores the impact of the substantial in-migration of untouchable, or Dalit, castes to Bombay, British India's key commercial and manufacturing hub, during the period 1880-1930. The project correlates the material conditions of urban life and industrial labor with Dalits' ambivalent experience of the city as a refuge from traditional caste ties and rural exploitation, on the one hand, and as a segregated space with streets, neighborhoods and the workplace divided along caste and class lines, on the other. The study thus addresses the colonial city as a key, if under-examined vector for the production of a Dalit modernity distinguished by novel associational forms, cultural practices, and political activism that grew out of the centrality of untouchable labor to the expansion of urban infrastructure.