MSAS Seminar: Towards an Anthropology of Answers: The Lost Trajectories of the Racialized Colonial Domestic Workers in South India and Beyond.’

Chair: Thiruni Kelegama

Speaker: Shalini Grover (LSE)

My presentation is a work-in-progress book about caregiving and domestic service from the late colonial period of South Asia (1930s) to contemporary times. It combines the historical and contemporary, following domestic workers over many generations and continents. In anthropology, care has featured under subjects such as ageing, migration, kinship, and medical anthropology, but structures and institutions of caregiving has been under theorized. Domestic servant’s lives that are at the heart of this seminar illuminate the social, economic, legal and political systems they were part of and the relevance of their cultural legacies that live on in the present moment. The ethnographic context for this seminar is Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) in South India. The seminar also examines the subjects of sexual exploitation, contexts of intimacy, ethnography versus the archival and servants afterlives.

Shalini Grover received her PhD is anthropology from the University of Sussex in 2006. From 2007-2016, she was at the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), University of Delhi as an Associate Professor in Anthropology. She has published widely on marriage, love, kinship, legal pluralisms, labour relations and globalized care. Her 2011 monograph (‘Marriage, Love, Caste, and Kinship Support: Lived Experiences of the Urban Poor in India) now features as an international revised edition with Routledge (London and New York, 2018). She is working on her second monograph that is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. She is currently an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute (III), London School of Economics (LSE).