Shankar Nair


Twitter: @shungaran

Technologies of Production in Artisanal and Handicraft Industries in Colonial India,



Abstract: My work looks at the history of India’s small-scale industries in the period

1870-1947. It traces the transformation in the techniques and social organisation of

production in India’s artisanal and handicraft industries. Through an engagement

with the material realities of those sustaining colonial India’s vast informal ‘non-factory’

economy, I hope to contribute to our understanding of histories of production and

technological change.  

1st Supervisor: David Edgerton

2nd Supervisor: Caitjan Gainty


I am a first-year PhD student, with an interest in social and political histories of science and technology. Through my research, I hope to shed light on the persistence and growth of informal work in India to this day. I find the comparative approach to the history of production useful in contextualising narratives of India’s industrialisation. The story of India’s industrialisation is perhaps more familiar than the historiography has let on, and perhaps stranger in ways we have not yet understood.    

Before joining King’s, I obtained my MSc in Theoretical Physics at Uppsala University and subsequently taught Physics at a high school in Mumbai. I also worked briefly in the Archives at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (Bengaluru) as a part-time archivist/caretaker of a collection devoted to the history of science in India.




Papers Given:


Grants, Awards, and Prizes:


Other professional affiliations and activities:

Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Department of History

King's College London


London WC2R 2LS

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