Skip to main content

Please note: this event has passed

As part of the Interrogating Development Series, the Department of International Development is hosting a book talk on 'Plantation crisis: ruptures of Dalit life in the Indian tea belt' by Dr Jayaseelan Raj. The talk will be followed by a discussion led by Hitesh Potdar, a PhD student at King's.

This is an in-person event. The talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

About the book

'Plantation crisis: ruptures of Dalit life in the Indian tea belt'

What does the collapse of India’s tea industry mean for Dalit workers who have lived, worked, and died on the plantations since the colonial era? 

Since the mid-1990s, the colonial era plantation system—and its workforce of more than two million people— has faced a series of ruptures stemming from neoliberal economic globalisation. In the South Indian state of Kerala, the Dalit workforce is at the forefront of this crisis and its profound effects on their social identity and economic wellbeing. Plantation Crisis offers a complex understanding of how processes of social and political alienation unfold in moments of economic rupture.

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the Peermade and Munnar tea belts, the book analyses the profound, multidimensional sense of crisis felt by those who are at the bottom of global plantation capitalism. Out of the colonial history of racial capitalism and indentured migration, Plantation Crisis opens our eyes to the collapse of the plantation system in India, and the profound impacts this has on the Dalit workers who lived there for generations.

Learn more about the book.

About the speaker

Dr Jayaseelan Raj

Jay is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and International Development in the Department of International Development at King's. Before joining King's he was a professor at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS), University of Göttingen, Germany. Previously, he was an assistant professor at the Centre for Development Studies, India, and a postdoctoral research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also Fellow in the GRNPP project at the Department of Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies.

Jay holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Bergen, Norway. He is also associated with the Egalitarianism Project based in Bergen Anthropology. He was recently awarded the New India Foundation Fellowship to write a book on Dalits and the State in Kerala.

About the discussant

Hitesh Potdar

Hitesh is an ESRC-funded PhD student in political economy and political ecology at King’s College London. His research is focussed on the crisis of social reproduction among paid domestic workers in India, impact of platformisation technologies and changes in labour-processes within a deregulated Indian economy. Hitesh has previously worked with government, research and policy organisations, and non-profit organisations. He holds MA in Development Studies from TISS, Mumbai and BEngg in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pune.

At this event

Jayaseelan Raj

Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and International Development

Event details

BH (SE) 1.01
Bush House South East Wing
Strand, London WC2R 1AE