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Introduction: Casting Empire

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pp. 1-11

BETWEEN 1837, WHEN THE FIRST indentured migrants from India landed in British Guiana and were despatched to a handful of sugar plantations in the colony, and 1917, when the state-supervised system of indentured migration was suspended by the Indian and imperial governments, approximately 430,000 men and women from India migrated under...

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I. Very Particularly Situated

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pp. 12-37

THIS CHAPTER FOCUSES on the initial scheme for importing Indian laborers for plantations in British Guiana, its reception and course, and introduces some of the debates and characters that have animated accounts, memories and histories of the migration. Together with imperial considerations raised by the threats, fears, and efforts of British Carib- ...

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2. Capitalists in the Neighborhood

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pp. 38-65

WHILE GLADSTONE'S SCHEME was unsuccessful, sugar estate operators undertook other, more successful strategies for regaining ascendancy over workers after emancipation. This chapter places these efforts in a larger post-emancipation context of labor reallocation, and focuses on the role of sugar estate operators in establishing a new orthodoxy about labor...

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3. Just a Minute

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pp. 66-87

THIS CHAPTER CONSIDERS two imperial administrators' responses to colonial and metropolitan sugar interests' allegations of post-emancipation labor shortage and pleas for government aid in addressing it. The first is Henry Light, who, after thirteen months' experience in Dominica, became Governor of British Guiana in June 1838 just before abolition of Apprenticeship was to take...

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4. Where Are These Records?

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pp. 88-108

ALTHOUGH SUPPORTERS OF EMIGRATION from Inda were eventually successful in reinstating thls imperial labor reallocation strategy, their progress was significantly impeded by the vigorous opposition and lobbying of the anti-slavery movement. Thls chapter examines some of the efforts of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS) against sugar...

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5. The "Saints" Come Marching In

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pp. 109-132

THREE FUNDAMENTAL PREMISES of sugar planters' and investors' arguments for assisted labor immigration were that it was necessary to continue to cultivate sugar in the formerly slave colonies of the British Caribbean (and Mauritius), that production could be carried out only on plantations, and that expansion was not only...

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6. Projecting Identities

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pp. 133-154

TOGETHER WITH A GROWING BODY of knowledge about India generated by censuses and other surveys, the debates provoked by Gladstone's experiment and subsequent revelations about it shaped the protocols that were developed to regulate all aspects of the system, from recruitment in India to arbitration of disputes between employers and Indan workers in the colonies. By extension, information...

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7. Casting Labor in the Imperial Mold

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pp. 155-171

THIS CHAPTER EXAMINES four discrete sets of documents produced in the course of political debates over indentured migration from India between the 1830s and 1912, by men separated from each other geographically, chronologically, and ideologically. It focuses specifically on their sometimes contradictory, often complementary, and always strategic...

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Postscript

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pp. 172-176

EMPIRE REPRESENTED MANY THINGS to many people, sometimes simultaneously and seemingly contradictorily: investment opportunities and instrument for civilization of people and societies both at home and abroad. Labor was central to both projects: as a means necessary to realize profits for the former and as discipline, both the medurn and end sought in...

Notes

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pp. 177-204

Bibliography

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pp. 205-228

Index

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pp. 229-235

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 236-236

RESEARCH FOR THIS PROJECT, begun as a doctoral dissertation in 1989, was supported by Andrew Mellon dissertation fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the Social Science Research Council (South Asia program), a summer research grant from Bryn Mawr College, and a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for college faculty. ...