The way innocuous utensils are arranged or used in a kitchen can say as much about a household and its members as the more decorative furnishings spread out in the drawing room, if not more. David Arnold seeks to make a similar point about India’s engagement with technology and modernity: He argues that a study of “everyday” technologies like typewriters, bicycles, sewing machines, and rice mills will be at least as illuminating as the continued focus on “big” technologies like railways, telegraphs, electricity, and large irrigation systems. In this well-researched work, Arnold brings to the table a rich array of sources—encompassing archival materials (including vintage photographs), novels, newspapers/magazines, and his own photography. Armed with these, he engages with a wide range of scholarly writing, from social construction of technology to the imagination of self, other, and nationhood; adds his own...
Everyday Technology: Machines and the Making of India’s Modernity
John Bosco Lourdusamy is associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Science at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Oxford for his thesis “Science and National Consciousness: A Study of the Response to Modern Science in Colonial Bengal, 1870–1930.” He also was a Queen Elizabeth Visiting Scholar at the Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He is a member of Research Council of Indian National Commission for History of Science of the Indian National Science Academy.
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John Bosco Lourdusamy; Everyday Technology: Machines and the Making of India’s Modernity. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1 March 2018; 12 (1): 101–104. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/18752160-3896572
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