Amanda Lanzillo

Jan 27, 2024

Pious Labor

Islam, Artisanship, and Technology in Colonial India

University of California Press 2024

Pious Labour: Islam, Artisanship, and Technology in Colonial India (University of California Press, 2023) focuses on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries northern India and working-class people who asserted Islamic piety through their trade while responding to industrial change, especially the development of new technologies and state and colonial projects. Indian Muslim artisans, such as those who worked in electroplating, or as stonemasons, tailors, carpenters, or woodworkers, used their craft, labour, class, and religion to establish prophetic lineages to their crafts and imbue it with Islamic piety in response to struggles of class and caste hierarchies and broader disenfranchisement. Amanda Lanzillo masterfully draws out these stories from Urdu technical manuals and oral histories of artisans themselves and in the process challenges us to think more capaciously about Islamic piety through the economy of labour, class, and technology, and our approaches to the histories of Islam in South Asia and beyond.

This book is available open access here.

Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at shobhana.xavier@queensu.ca. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier.

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Shobhana Xavier

Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at shobhana.xavier@queensu.ca. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier.

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