Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Indentured Plantation Labour

6 June 2006 to 7 June 2006


Four Australian historians (Rob Castle, Jim Hagan, Roger Knight and Andrew Wells) have been working over many years on a project that attempts to describe, compare and explain the labour relations in four key export industries in five countries in Asia and Australia, 1860-1940. The focus of the project is on the recruitment, relocation, employment, control, regulation, disciplining of labour as well as constraining and supressing resistance. They examine these issues under the general rubric of commodifying colonial labour and seek to explain the dynamics of the process by focussing on labour relations at the work-site but linking these to wider colonial and imperial political and economic forces as well as the community and cultural relations that influence labour consciousness and behaviour.
This project is nearing completion and the authors will organise a two day workshop designed to explore and to discuss the results of the research to date and debate the best way for this material to be presented within one integrated and coherent volume. The papers which constitute the basis of the book will be pre-circulated and should be available to all participants 7-10 days before the workshop. At the workshop author(s) will have 20 minutes to summarise, followed by a discussant (20 minutes) and general discussion for another 50 minutes (90 minutes per paper).

Session I: Jim Hagan, Overview of the project
Session II: Rob Castl/Jim Hagan, The Tea Gardens of Assam
Session III: Roger Knight, The Sugar Industry on Java
Session IV: Summary
Session V: Jim Hagan/Andrew Wells, Rubber in Malaya and Indochina
Session VI: Rob Castle/Jim Hagan, Aboriginal Labour in the Northern Australian Cattle Industry
Session VII: Andrew Wells, Unresolved Issues
Concluding discussion