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Date(s) - 02/22/2016
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Garrison Hall 4.100

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Institute for Historical Studies in the Department of History invites you to:
“Structures of Power: Electrification in Colonial India”
A workshop by
Sunila S. Kale
Chair and Director, South Asian Studies
Associate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies
University of Washington
Monday, Feb. 22
Noon | GAR 4.100
Mirroring the cross-national variation in how electricity became enmeshed in polities and societies around the world in the 20th century, within British India, too, the emerging electric systems differed by fuel source, ownership, and usage. This heterogeneity was a product of decentralized authority over electricity to provincial governments and the ambiguous freedoms of indirect colonial rule. Rather than being governed according to any discreet logic of colonial governance, electric systems became terrains in which a variety of views about the proper role of the state in industrial transformation as well as the suitable means to promote economic development were elaborated. In turn the emergent electrical systems both shaped politics and governance in the late colonial period and left a strong imprint on politics after Independence. If railroads and canals—the quintessential infrastructural technologies of the colonial state—revealed a uniform sense of the state as a particular kind of engine of “development,” the far more messy political economy of electrification displayed a mixed understanding of both governance and the state’s role in the economy.
Dr. Kale is Associate Professor at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, where she teaches in the South Asian Studies and Global Studies programs. Her research, writing, and teaching focus on the politics of India and South Asia and the political economy of development. She also serves as Chair of the South Asian Studies Program and Director of the South Asian Studies Center, a National Resource Center supported by the U.S. Department of Education. She is the author of Electrifying India: Regional Political Economies of Development (Stanford University Press, 2014), winner of the 2013 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences by the American Institute of Indian Studies.
Prof. Kale’s faculty profile:
Sumit Guha
Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History
University of Texas at Austin
Free and open to the public. RSVP required. To RSVP and receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper, please email courtney by 9 a.m., Friday, Feb. 19.