This history of material practices of colour making in India giving way to chemical innovation is arguably narrated in two ways in European history, as its defeat to imperialist science and colonising power structures, or its success as development of modern science, based on who tells the story. Within intellectual history of forms of knowledge in India, the narrative is linked to problems of language and literary systems, bureaucracies and polity, and cultural practices of organisation of knowledge, and less concerned with practical application of such knowledge. Moreover, studies of artisans engaged in traditional technologies of production are less concerned with technical knowledge per se and framed more within economic history of markets. Through framing traditional natural dyeing practices of south Indian dyers in terms of epistemology, this talk explores how concepts of knowledge and its ownership are negotiated in their tensions between the regimes of text-science-law and material-culture-order in colour making in contemporary India.
Location: Central Institute Hermann von Helmholtz Centre for Cultural Techniques (HZK) | Campus Nord – Haus 3 | Philippstr. 13, 10115 Berlin