Trouble at the Mill: Factory Law and the Emergence of Labour Question in Late Nineteenth-Century Bombay
The book uses the Factory Acts of the late nineteenth century as an entry point into the early history of labour relations in India, specifically the mill industry of Bombay. It unites legal and social history in a manner which differs from most social histories of labour, and offers a new perspective on the constitution of industrial relations in colonial India.
The Factory Act passed by the Government of British India in 1881 produced the first official definition of 'factories' in modern Indian history as workplaces using steam power and regularly employing over 100 workers. It imposed certain minimal restrictions upon the freedom of employers in a limited range of industrial workplaces and invested factory workers, most explicitly children, with a slim set of immunities and entitlements. In 1891, the Factory Act was amended: factories were redefined as workplaces employing over 50 workers, the upper age limit of legal 'protection' was raised, weekly holidays were established, and women mill-workers were brought within its ambit. In its own time, factory law was experienced as a minor official initiative, but it connected with some of the most potent ideological debates and political oppositions of the age.
This book takes these two pieces of labour legislation as an entry point into the history of 'industrial relations' (the term did not yet exist in its present sense) in colonial India, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century combining the legal and social history which diverges from most studies of Indian workers. It identifies an emergent 'factory question' built on the problem of protective labour legislation. The cotton-mill industry of Bombay, long familiar to labour historians as one of the nodal points of modern Indian capitalism, is the principal focal point of this investigation. While this is a book about law and regulation, it is neither a legislative nor a policy history. While it is preoccupied with the history of factory legislation, it does not offer a full narrative that takes this as its 'object'. And while the book focuses on Bombay's cotton mills, it contains significant departures both from the city and its major industry. A number of questions which have only rarely been thematized by labour historians-the ideologies of factory reform, the politics of factory commissions, the routines of factory inspection, and the earliest waves of strike action in the cotton textile industry-are raised in this book.
Details of all the monographs and edited collection of the Warwick University History Department's academic staff are available online.
The History Department is recruiting a 'Postgraduate and Research Coordinator' to join the Department's team of dedicated support staff. The postholder will be responsible for the management and coordination of the support for postgraduate study in the Department, including direct support to the Director of PGR Studies and the Director of PGT Studies, and also responsible for contributing to the support for research in the Department. The post is full-time and permanent, and has a closing date for applications of 1st February 2018. All applications must be submitted online.
Please direct all informal inquiries to the History Departmental Administrator, Mr Robert Horton (R.S.Horton@warwick.ac.uk).
"Claire L. Shaw’s Deaf in the USSR: Marginality, community, and Soviet identity, 1917–1991 (Cornell) is a landmark in the history of disability and the Soviet welfare state. A stunning first book, it covers the entire Soviet experience from a thought-provoking perspective."
The full range of monographs and edited collections written or edited by the Warwick University History Department's academic staff is available online.
A labour of love by a Kenilworth historian has won the praise of a former prime minister. Emeritus Reader, Dr Fred Reid, former head of the History Department at Warwick University, has just seen the publication of his book Thomas Hardy and History, which he has been working on for two decades, and ex-prime minister Gordon Brown was quick to send his congratulations to Dr Reid on his achievement.
Read the full story on the Coventry Observer website.
Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships
The Warwick University History Department is keen to encourage new research and support postdoctoral projects; potential applicants for this scheme are always welcome to approach us. In preparation for a possible bid, we recommend that each candidate considers the following:
For the 2017/18 round, the internal Leverhulme ECF selection process will run as follows:
For further details see https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/news/leverhulmeecf.
A display exploring the history and changing image of Britain's West India Regiments, from their creation at the end of the 18th century up to the First World War, is now open at the Museum of London Docklands. "Fighting for Empire: From Slavery to Military Service in the West India Regiments" has been curated by David Lambert, Professor of History at the University of Warwick. It will run until 9 September 2018. For details:
The display speaks directly to many of the themes in the permanent displays at Docklands, notably enslaved resistance, black agency, and visual representation. The theme is explored primarily through prints, ephemera and maps, as well as a large framed oil painting by Louis William Desanges entitled "The Capture of the Tubabakolong, Gambia 1866", which depicts Private Samuel Hodge of the 4th West India Regiment, who was the first African-Caribbean soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross. It has been created in partnership with the University of Warwick and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and draws on research undertaken as part of the 'Africa's Sons Under Arms' research project. For more on the wider research project:
The Global History and Culture Centre has started a new blog. Read the first post, "Jeremy Adelman, ‘What is Global History Now’ – Global History Reading Group", posted today, Wednesday 8th November 2017.