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Grant number like: FT-56412-08

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

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2008 – 7/31/2008

Caste and The Colonial City

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.