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Social Anthropology: Events


The politics of the handloom: craft, technology and the modern nation in China and India

The politics of the handloom: craft, technology and the modern nation in China and India
Speaker: Professor Francesca Bray # University of Edinburgh
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Date and Time
6th Dec 2016 15:00 - 6th Dec 2016 17:00
Seminar Room, Learning Centre, NMS, Chambers Street, Edinburgh

Understanding Technology - a series of public lectures presenting leading international research and ideas in the history, philosophy, politics and sociology of technology

Presented by the National Museums Scotland in co-operation with the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, University of Edinburgh

This lecture discusses the very different fates of handloom weaving in modern India and China.  India became independent in 1945, the People’s Republic was declared in 1949.  In both new nations the handloom was a pillar of the economy, an essential tool of livelihood for hundreds of millions.  Yet the subsequent fate of the handloom in the two nations followed completely different paths. In China today handloom weaving survives only as an exoticised “heritage craft” associated typically with ethnic minorities.  In India the handloom and the values it represents serve as a powerful political rallying-call for social justice and environmental progress. What do the contrasting cases of India and China suggest more generally about the politics of crafts vs technology in industrialised nations, including the UK?

The lecture commences at 3.00pm.  Admission free.  Please register with Maureen Kerr on 0131 247 4274 or

Freshers 2013