Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - Asians beyond Asia: The Recruitment of Indentured Labourers for Plantation Economy c. 1834-1910

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Maple, Lower Ground Floor

The plantation economy primarily focused on the good physique as a crucial element of labor masculinity and sign of efficient labor power. The recruiting agent was expected to recruit ‘able-bodied’ agricultural laborers having ‘good-health’. The focus was more on the physical appearance and the body of the indentured. First slave, then convicts, and after that, indentured laborers were invented for work in the overseas plantations. Medical knowledge regarding “the Indian body” was utilized to recruit the fit and weed out the frail and sickly. The planters and the white doctors adopted a general definition of health that measured an indentured person’s worthiness according to the market value and potential for productive and reproductive labor. The objectification of indentured health extended beyond the body and included measures of character and skill as well. Further, the knowledge of agricultural work was also taken into cognizance.


In this paper, I would like to deliberate upon this process of making indentured labor ‘suitable’ for the colonies. How modern science, technology, new knowledge, and medicine helped the government to fulfill their purpose; how this scientific and medical knowledge affected the recruitment process of indentured laborers. Further, I would also like to see migrant’s interaction with this scientific knowledge and medicine and how this interfered with their life. This also intended to highlight the everyday practices of migrants, especially the female recruits and their resistance against the imposition of this newly developed science and medicine.


 

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2 - Asians beyond Asia: The Recruitment of Indentured Labourers for Plantation Economy c. 1834-1910



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Send Email for Asians beyond Asia: The Recruitment of Indentured Labourers for Plantation Economy c. 1834-1910