Pious Labor: Islam, Artisanship, and Technology in Colonial India
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In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, working-class people across northern India found themselves negotiating rapid industrial change, emerging technologies, and class hierarchies. In response to these changes, Indian Muslim artisans began publicly asserting the deep relation between their religion and their labor, using the increasingly accessible popular press to redefine Islamic traditions “from below.” Centering the stories and experiences of metalsmiths, stonemasons, tailors, press workers, and carpenters, Pious Labor examines colonial-era social and technological changes through the perspectives of the workers themselves. As Amanda Lanzillo shows, the colonial marginalization of these artisans is intimately linked with the continued exclusion of laboring voices today. By drawing on previously unstudied Urdu-language technical manuals and community histories, Lanzillo highlights not only the materiality of artisanal production but also the cultural agency of artisanal producers, filling in a major gap in South Asian history.
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Allahabad AMQA architecture argued artisan communities artisan Islam artisanship ashraf Asia asserted authority Bahawalpur blacksmiths boilermaking British Cambridge carpenters carpentry chapter circulated cities claims Colonial India community histories context darzīs Dehlvi Delhi early twentieth century economic electroplating manuals elite Muslim engaged Engineering Gazetteer Government Press Hakimuddin hierarchies Hindu identities Iksīr-i Indian artisans industrial Islamic architecture Kanpur kārīgars Karimullah Khan Khwaja Muhammad Lahore Lakṛī kā kām late nineteenth lead masons lineages lithographic lithographic presses locomotive workshops Lucknow material metalsmiths metalworkers migration Modern mosques Mughal Mughalpura Muslim artisans Muslim past narratives North India North-Western Provinces patrons Persian Perso-Arabic script piety Pious Labor political practices press workers princely public works department Punjab railway Rampur reflected regional Report Risalah-yi Idrīsiyah Sarshar Sayyid scribal scribes sewing Sialkot skills social sought South Asian stonemasons Sufi suggests tailors Tazkirah al-aiwān technologies tion trade traditions United Provinces urban Urdu wages woodworkers