Bharat Sundararajan is a PhD candidate at the School of History, University of St. Andrews. Prior to this he worked as an archivist in India for several years. His research interests include urban studies, community archiving and archival activism, labour history, deindustrialization studies, and the history of archives.
From textiles to tourism: mill work, deindustrialization and urban change in postcolonial Pondicherry
My doctoral research reimagines the urban history of Pondicherry,a former French colony in South India, through a historical study of deindustrialization and urban change as experienced by its working-class communities. I place analytical focus on the city’s textile workers and ask how their social identity as workers shaped their relationship to the city, and what it means to live through the decline of this once thriving industry. Drawing on archival sources, ethnographic research and oral histories, my research will attend to reverberations of this industrial “past” within a supposedly post-industrial present.