Genealogy of Spinning

In an anti-colonial move toward Indian self-sufficiency, Gandhi in 1909 decided to revive the hand-spinning of cotton into thread. Gandhi’s programme of spinning (as practice) and deployment of the spinning wheel (as icon) represents one of the most significant unifying elements of the nationalist movement in India.

This project traces the genealogy of the image of spinning. By examining the colonial roots of spinning imagery in painting, prints, and photography, and investigating how the nationalist movement deployed both the visual image and the physical practice, this study probes spinning as symbol and ritual.

Publications: monograph, 1 article, 1 book chapter, 1 article in development

Image: 1930s-40s, Sir Malcom Darling Collection, Cambridge UK