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Textiles and Weavers in South India

Vijaya Ramaswamy (Author)
Synopsis The Indian textile industry has a history of more than two thousand years dating back to the pre-Christian era. However, substantial data on textiles and weavers is available only from the medieval period, when South Indian handlooms prospered. Textiles and Weavers provides a comprehensive history of the world of weaving in South India from the tenth century onwards. Focusing on the vicissitudes of the handloom industry and weaving communities, Vijaya Ramaswamy presents a rare account of the socio-economic world of weavers-oral traditions, their status and roles, and relationship with the state. She discusses the importance of social networks like caste, religion, and culture in textile production and trade. The author also analyses related production processes, textile technology, commercial organization, trade, and taxation. This second edition takes the story of the South Indian handloom industry into the colonial period and beyond. It revisits the conditions of weavers in a context of rapidly changing lifestyles and technology explosion. The author also examines the recent textile policies and challenges faced by traditional weaving communities. The book integrates diverse research methodologies to offer multiple perspectives on the socio-economic world of weaving communities. In contra-distinction to existing studies, the author utilizes archival and epigraphic records, regional chronicles, folk traditions, and personal interviews to provide a 'view from below'. This book will interest students and scholars of Indian history particularly South India and those interested in fashion, textile designing, and the growth of technology.
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About the author

Vijaya Ramaswamy

Vijaya Ramaswamy is a Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies in the School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University.  Ramaswamy's first book, Textiles and Weavers in Medieval South India was published by the Oxford University Press in 1985 (the second revised edition has appeared in 2006 from OUP).  From economic history, she has broadened her interests to cover such varied fields as South Indian folklore, religious studies and gender studies.  Oxford University Press brought out her second book, Divinity and Deviance: Women in Virasaivism in 1996.  In 1997, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla published her book, Walking Naked: Women, Society, Spirituality in South India.  The book won the prestigious "Best Woman Historian" award from the Indian History Congress in 2001.  In 2003, she published her first edited book, Re-searching Indian Women from Manohar Publishers, New Delhi.  Her other co-edited book, Biography as History: Indian Perspectives, will be published by Orient Longman shortly.  Her book, the Historical Dictionary of the Tamils is in the press and is being brought out by the Scarecrow Press, Maryland.  She is an alumni of the School of Oriental and African Studies and was a Fulbright Fellow at Berkeley in California in 1988-89.  Between 1992 and 1995, she researched on the spiritual history of women as a Fellow at the Indianj Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.  She was on an Indo-Canadian Fellowship at York University, Ontario in 1998.  She got the prestigious UGC social scientist fellowship in 1999 and completed her book, Tamil Women from the Underside of History in 2002.  She was elected the Sectional President for Medieval India in the 64th session of the Indian History Congress held at Mysore in 2003.  She is currently engaged in the writing of two books - Crafts and Craftsmen in South Indian History and Tamil Myths and Legends.

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Bibliographic information

Title Textiles and Weavers in South India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition 2nd ed.
Language: English
isbn 9780195676334
length xviii+271p., Tables; Figures; Maps; Notes; Appendices; Glossary; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.