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  • A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation

    Author(s):
    Pages: 440
    Illustrations: 27 b&w photos, 6 tables
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World, excluding South Asia
    Series: a John Hope Franklin Center Book
  • Cloth: $104.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2679-3
  • Paperback: $29.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2674-8
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  • List of Illustrations ix

    Acknowledgments xi

    1. Alap 1

    2. Travels of Tea, Travels of Empire 20

    3. Cultivating the Garden 51

    4. The Raj Baroque 84

    5. Estates of a New Raj 115

    6. Discipline and Labor 168

    7. Village Politics 235

    8. Protest 289

    9. A Last Act 325

    Appendix 327

    Glossary 333

    Notes 335

    Bibliography 383

    Index 411
  • “Piya Chatterjee presents an innovative ethnography of female tea plantation workers through a kaleidoscope of drama, personal narrative, labor history review, and the interrogations of her subjects. A Time for Tea addresses issues of colonial and postcolonial power structures, transnational flows, subaltern history, labor relations, and feminist ethnography. Tea does not taste the same after one has read this strikingly original book.”—Kirin Narayan, author of Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching — N/A

    “This is a finely layered, theoretically astute and informed cultural and historical account of a tea plantation in India. The ethnography is not content to address localized politics and culture; its importance lies in the way in which it reveals the global and political dimensions of local practices of gendered labor.”—Inderpal Grewal, author of Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire, and the Cultures of Travel — N/A

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  • Description

    In this creative, ethnographic, and historical critique of labor practices on an Indian plantation, Piya Chatterjee provides a sophisticated examination of the production, consumption, and circulation of tea. A Time for Tea reveals how the female tea-pluckers seen in advertisements—picturesque women in mist-shrouded fields—came to symbolize the heart of colonialism in India. Chatterjee exposes how this image has distracted from terrible working conditions, low wages, and coercive labor practices enforced by the patronage system.
    Allowing personal, scholarly, and artistic voices to speak in turn and in tandem, Chatterjee discusses the fetishization of women who labor under colonial, postcolonial, and now neofeudal conditions. In telling the overarching story of commodity and empire, A Time for Tea demonstrates that at the heart of these narratives of travel, conquest, and settlement are compelling stories of women workers. While exploring the global and political dimensions of local practices of gendered labor, Chatterjee also reflects on the privileges and paradoxes of her own “decolonization” as a Third World feminist anthropologist. The book concludes with an extended reflection on the cultures of hierarchy, power, and difference in the plantation’s villages. It explores the overlapping processes by which gender, caste, and ethnicity constitute the interlocked patronage system of villages and their fields of labor. The tropes of coercion, consent, and resistance are threaded through the discussion.
    A Time for Tea will appeal to anthropologists and historians, South Asianists, and those interested in colonialism, postcolonialism, labor studies, and comparative or international feminism.

    Designated a John Hope Franklin Center book by the John Hope Franklin Seminar Group on Race, Religion, and Globalization.

    About The Author(s)

    Piya Chatterjee is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

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