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Textiles, Religion and Power from the 16th-19th c. in India

Semester and Year SP 2019
Course Number IDSEM-UG1988
Section 001
Instructor Urmila Mohan
Days F
Time 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM, EARLY, GLOBAL



Textiles from 16th-19th CE in India were part of a complex history of religious power, imperial patronage, sumptuary laws, political gifts and global trade. Through the history and materiality of cloth, this course traces the production of textiles for courts, temples, British colonial trade, and the role of cloth and clothing in the formation of Hindu, Muslim and caste identities. Drawing on scholarship in textile history, South Asian history and cultural studies, we will study examples from some different parts of India and explore some ways in which textiles and their producers were entangled with forces of religious and political power. We will explore existing literature, archives and textile objects in museum collections to tease out possible themes and connections. Questions may include: how can knowledge of the physical materials and techniques used in making these objects be related to what has been gleaned through archival and artifactual study? How might we retrieve the agency of the producers and consumers of these objects? How did social processes and institutions such as weaver guilds relate to the development of religious and caste boundaries? Could a study of cloth and clothing from this period shape our current ideas of ‘religion’ and ‘power’, and vice-versa?


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)