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New Book by Alumnus Arnab Dey


Tea Environments and Plantation Culture: Imperial Disarray in Eastern India (Cambridge University Press)

In his book, Dey looks at the intersection of ecology, law, and agriculture in British east India, with a spotlight on tea plantations. He points out that by re-examining the legal, environmental, agricultural, and economic aspects of tea production, hidden acts of corruption and opportunism in the administrative and commercial process can be revealed—events that have led to long-term impacts on the region’s environment. The author brings to light the influence of plant pests and diseases, forestry practices, working conditions, and politics on the history of tea plantations in the subcontinent. Providing the links between the plant and the plantation, he highlights the ironic nature of the tea economy in east India.

Arnab worked on his book during his fellowship at the RCC.

“The plantation is a critical subject in imperial and world history, but only rarely have scholars provided such a thorough and nimble history of the entangled human and environmental complexities and instabilities of a specific plantation culture as Arnab Dey does in his important new book. Tea Environments and Plantation Culture is a masterful agro-ecological history”— Paul S. Sutter (University of Colorado, Boulder)

“This book breaks new ground by interleaving the human history of tea plantation in colonial Assam with the natural history of the plant and its pathogens. The result is a fresh and original perspective that emphasizes the role of the non-human in the making of modern South Asia.”— Dipesh Chakrabarty (University of Chicago)