This paper looks at gastronomic identity in the age of global labor migrations. Focusing on the nineteenth-century indentured labor voyages from northern India to the sugar colonies in the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific regions, it highlights the sea voyage as both a social setting and a mirror back onto colonial society. The space of the indentured labor ship serves as an innovative site for understanding the political, cultural, and economic dimensions of historical labor movements, through which colonial politics and gustemic identities were negotiated. An analysis of the food provisions and other culinary items that British colonial officials provided to indentured workers during their journeys situates the “taste” of laborers in colonial feedings.
Feeding the Girmitiya: Food and Drink on Indentured Ships to the Sugar Colonies
Ashutosh Kumar is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of History, Faculty of Arts at University of Leeds. He received his PhD from the Department of History, University of Delhi, and was awarded the Sephis Fellowship for his study of indentured labor migration from North India to the sugar colonies during the nineteenth century. He has published articles in peer-reviewed international journals. His book Coolies of the Empire: Indentured Indians in the Sugar Colonies, 1830–1920 is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.
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Ashutosh Kumar; Feeding the Girmitiya: Food and Drink on Indentured Ships to the Sugar Colonies. Gastronomica 1 February 2016; 16 (1): 41–52. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2016.16.1.41
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