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Territories of conquest, landscapes of resistance: the political ecology of peasant cultivation in Dharwar, western India, 1818-1840

Hazareesingh, Sandip (2013). Territories of conquest, landscapes of resistance: the political ecology of peasant cultivation in Dharwar, western India, 1818-1840. Journal of Historical Geography, 42 pp. 88–99.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhg.2013.07.010
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Abstract

Focussing on the initial period of British colonial rule in Dharwar, western India, this article uses a political ecology approach to explore peasant modes of cultivation in the context of agrarian changes introduced by the new administration. I argue that, in a climatically vulnerable region, the excessive land revenue burdens imposed on the local peasant cultivators strengthened rather than weakened their habitual crop choices which were designed to ensure food and livelihood security. Moreover, while the new rulers struggled to make sense of, and thus secure desirable outcomes from the local agrarian environment, the peasants astutely used their greater environmental knowledge to maintain their habitual modes of cropping and in the process resist an initial ‘improvement’ project based on foreign cottons. The article thus highlights the significance, historically, of context-specific, local environmental knowledge as an enabling resource for poorer peasant communities. Finally, it suggests that political ecology can offer a conceptual lens for reading colonial documents ‘against the grain’ and for generating fresh insights about human–environment interactions from archival traces.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN: 0305-7488
Keywords: peasants; cultivation; cotton; ecology; landscapes; water
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 36536
Depositing User: Sandip Hazareesingh
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2013 13:19
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2019 10:51
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/36536
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