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Modernity of SlaveryStruggles against Caste Inequality in Colonial Kerala$
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P. Sanal Mohan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198099765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198099765.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Modernity of Slavery

P. Sanal Mohan

Oxford University Press

This chapter foregrounds the Dalit experience of colonial modernity in Kerala. It begins with an analysis of missionary discourses and practices, as they were instrumental in introducing the concept of equality, which was central to Dalit engagement with modernity. One of the concerns of the study is to figure out the significant principles around which the new critique of the prevailing social structure developed in Kerala. The concept of social equality was the principal idea that generated and sustained such a critique. Based on a close reading of the missionary archive, employing methodological insights derived from discourse analysis and ethnographic history, the particular articulations of the idea of equality have been explored. The method of ethnographic history was adopted to bring in an ethnographic sensitivity to historical analysis and vice-versa.

Keywords:   equality, slave castes, ethnography, archive, discourse, Kerala

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