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A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation - A John Hope Franklin Center Book (Hardback)
  • A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation - A John Hope Franklin Center Book (Hardback)
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A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation - A John Hope Franklin Center Book (Hardback)

(author)
£99.00
Hardback 440 Pages / Published: 29/11/2001
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In this creative, ethnographic, and historical critique of labor practices on an Indian plantation, Piya Chatterjee provides a sophisticated examination of the production, consumption, and circulation of tea. A Time for Tea reveals how the female tea-pluckers seen in advertisements-picturesque women in mist-shrouded fields-came to symbolize the heart of colonialism in India. Chatterjee exposes how this image has distracted from terrible working conditions, low wages, and coercive labor practices enforced by the patronage system.
Allowing personal, scholarly, and artistic voices to speak in turn and in tandem, Chatterjee discusses the fetishization of women who labor under colonial, postcolonial, and now neofeudal conditions. In telling the overarching story of commodity and empire, A Time for Tea demonstrates that at the heart of these narratives of travel, conquest, and settlement are compelling stories of women workers. While exploring the global and political dimensions of local practices of gendered labor, Chatterjee also reflects on the privileges and paradoxes of her own "decolonization" as a Third World feminist anthropologist. The book concludes with an extended reflection on the cultures of hierarchy, power, and difference in the plantation's villages. It explores the overlapping processes by which gender, caste, and ethnicity constitute the interlocked patronage system of villages and their fields of labor. The tropes of coercion, consent, and resistance are threaded through the discussion.
A Time for Tea will appeal to anthropologists and historians, South Asianists, and those interested in colonialism, postcolonialism, labor studies, and comparative or international feminism.

Designated a John Hope Franklin Center book by the John Hope Franklin Seminar Group on Race, Religion, and Globalization.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822326793
Number of pages: 440
Weight: 839 g
Dimensions: 230 x 162 x 34 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Piya Chatterjee presents an innovative ethnography of female tea plantation workers through a kaleidoscope of drama, personal narrative, labor history review, and the interrogations of her subjects. A Time for Tea addresses issues of colonial and postcolonial power structures, transnational flows, subaltern history, labor relations, and feminist ethnography. Tea does not taste the same after one has read this strikingly original book."-Kirin Narayan, author of Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching
"This is a finely layered, theoretically astute and informed cultural and historical account of a tea plantation in India. The ethnography is not content to address localized politics and culture; its importance lies in the way in which it reveals the global and political dimensions of local practices of gendered labor."-Inderpal Grewal, author of Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire, and the Cultures of Travel
"A Time for Tea says quite a bit about the endurance of women pluckers on a tea plantation in West Bengali called Sarah's Hope Tea Estate. . . . The world drawn in A Time for Tea is the "other" world of tea, beyond ladies lounging in gauzy gowns upon velvet Victorian chaises, sipping Darjeeling, and munching cucumber sandwiches. . . . Indeed, this is not your typical coffee table tea book. . . . A Time for Tea is an argument for Fair Trade tea -- and more. . . . It 'stirs the conscious, creates dissonance.' And perhaps it also will produce a new perspective when you savor your next cuppa pai mu tan." -- Donis W. Ford * Tea - A Magazine *
"A detailed history of the labor structure on tea plantations. . . . Interesting. . . . Her use of language, rich in metaphor and allusion. indicates a deep-rooted empathy for these women, which is almost contrary to scholarly detachment. . . . A multifaceted understanding of a complex socioeconomic system." -- Chitrita Banerji * Gastronomica *
"Piya Chatterjee's A Time for Tea is more than a skillful and reflective ethnography of women's labor in the tea industry in India. Her analysis of the fieldwork she conducted on an Indian plantation is contextualized through a cultural and material history of the tea industry in India, which is intertwined with the politics and economics of empire, the impact of capitalism, and the shifting production and performance of gender, class, and consumption." -- Suzanne Franzway and Mary Margaret Fonow * Signs *
"A highly readable ethnography. . . . This book wears its theory lightly but is deftly and often ingeniously written. . . . [A] meditative and reflective work. . . ." -- Kamala Visweswaran * American Historical Review *
"A tour de force of intimate reflection on the embodied histories and gendered fetishisms at work on a postcolonial plantation. . . . A Time for Tea holds lessons for a remarkable array of audiences, not only in its theoretically astute, well-researched argument but also in a passionate commitment to the poetics and politics of writing in solidarity with subaltern voices without presuming to speak them. . . . Wonderful. . . . Piya Chatterjee is a remarkable, visionary writer. A Time for Tea is an erudite and powerful book that should be read widely and closely." -- Sharad Chari * American Ethnologist *

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