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	Debates about the nature of agrarian property in colonial Bengal / The abolition of slavery in India

Debates about the nature of agrarian property in colonial Bengal / The abolition of slavery in India

Actualité de la recherche sur l'Asie du Sud - Séminaire du CEIAS

8 janvier 2019 | 13h30-16h30

Salle 737 | 54 boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris


Andrew Sartori (NYU)

Debates about the nature of agrarian property in colonial Bengal

The question of how to legislate about agrarian property rights was inextricably bound up in the question of where those rights properly derived from. In colonial Bengal, this was a profoundly contested question that traversed claims about the role of the sovereign in constituting property, the role of labor in constituting property and the role of prescription in constituting property, as well as traversing the different political languages (including both British and Islamic jurisprudence) that entered into the arbitration of competing historical claims to property.


Alessandro Stanziani (CNRS/EHESS)

The abolition of slavery in India

Britain did not adopt a decisively abolitionist attitude in India until very late – beginning in 1843 and particularly after 1860. Nevertheless, it is harder to evaluate the transformations that the forms of labor underwent in the various regions and sectors of the Indian subcontinent. In the following pages, though we have taken the gap between British categories and Indian values into account, our aim is not to oppose the realities of slavery to the way they were represented, but on the contrary to emphasize how they influenced each other. The necessary critique of the sources and the danger of Orientalism and ethnocentrism will not be our goal per se, but it will serve more traditionally as the starting point for a critique of the sources that will allow us to trace the factual historical dynamics of the forms of dependency and of slavery in India. We will examine the legacy of pre-colonial slavery, the transformations introduced by the British conquest, and finally, labor relationships after the formal abolition of slavery until the late twentieth century.


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