This is an electronic version of an article published in Contemporary South Asia, 2009, 17 (1), pp. 3-6. Contemporary South Asia is available online at: www.tandfonline.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0144-039X&date=2009&volume=30&issue=1&spage=93.This article seeks to shift the frame of analysis within which discussions of Indian indentured migration take place. It argues that colonial discourses and practices of indenture are best understood not with regard to the common historiographical framework of whether it was ‘a new system of slavery’, but in the context of colonial innovations in incarceration and confinement. The article shows how Indian experiences of and knowledge about transportation overseas to penal settlements informed in important ways both their own understandings and representations of migration and the colonial practices associated with the recruitment of indentured labour. In detailing the connections between two supposedly different labour regimes, it thus brings a further layer of complexity to debates around their supposed distinctions.Peer-reviewedPost-prin
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