The Transfer of Railway Technologies and Afro-Asian Labor Processes within the British Empire

Ian J. Kerr 1
  • 1 University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada


The transfer of railway technology within the British Empire, and particularly to India provides the focus for this paper that explores—conceptually, historiographically and substantively—what was transferred and how that transfer took place. Drawing upon the large-scale technical system literature and labor history the paper highlights various kinds and levels of transfer agents working through, albeit in an often-contested fashion, Afro-Asian labor processes as central components within the transfer process when railway construction was involved. Railway construction is then counterpoised to railway operation where the transfer process exhibited greater British dictation and adherence to British practice.

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