German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
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Public Lectures

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series

Max Weber Lecture Series

Seminars - Spring 2020

28 April

Samita Sen (Cambridge)
Making Coolies: Labour Brokerage and the Tea Industry in India, 1830–1930

***   Please note that this event has been cancelled!   ***

Samita Sen is Vere Harmsworth Professor in Imperial and Naval History at Cambridge University. Her monograph on women’s employment in the jute industry in colonial Bengal (1999) won the Trevor Reese Prize in Commonwealth History. In 2016 she published the jointly written Domestic Days and edited Passage to Bondage.

Her presentation will focus on recruitment of labour for the Assam tea industry. It will be argued that recruitment for plantations in colonial India gave rise to institutions and agencies which became separate businesses in themselves. They maintained close links with the industry for which they supplied labour, but these two interests were not convergent since the recruiting agencies’ profitability depended on their ability to leverage the buyers. Moreover, the commercial brokerage of labour, which expanded its net across the country, drew into its profitable sway a vast network of recruiters at different levels as well as whole sets of social relationships and institutions.

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Seminars are held at 5.30 p.m. in the Conference Room of the German Historical Institute (unless indicated otherwise). Tea is available from 5.00 p.m. in the Common Room, and wine is served after the lectures.

Guided tours of the Library are available before each seminar at 4.30 p.m.

Previous Seminars

Public Lectures 2020

Previous Public Lectures

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series London, 2019-20

Acting Jewish: Between Identity and Attire

Full details are available here.

Max Weber Lecture Series

The Max Weber Lectures are a part of a series of lectures related to the themes of the research projects of the India Branch Office. Well-known experts from any of the research themes of the IBO are specially invited to India to share their expertise with project partners and other researchers in India.

Full details are available here.