Annapurna Mamidipudi: "Tacit words, Explicit bodies: Zigzagging between theory and practice in craft textile production in India"

  • Datum: –15.00
  • Plats: Engelska parken 6-3025 (Rausingrummet)
  • Arrangör: Avdelningen för vetenskapshistoria, Institutionen för idé- och lärdomshistoria
  • Kontaktperson: Otto Sibum
  • Seminarium

Vetenskapshistoriska seminariet

Forskningspresentation av Annapurna Mamidipudi, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin.


How do scholars understand such knowledge without words, that has historically been categorised as socio-material or practical craft or tacit? [Conceptual] theory and [Embodied] practice are predominantly perceived as separate, in dualistic or dialectic terms -as pure and applied knowledge, planning and execution, as textual and material.

Handloom weaving, on the other hand, provides an apt ground from which to develop an understanding of zigzagging as movement between theory and practice -thinking and doing. Here, the essential movement of the shuttle across the loom, carrying the weft through the warp up and down the warp ends and then looping back, may seem like a lateral move but in fact it advances the weave forward. Moreover, at each moment, the choices made by the weaver are materially reflected in the cloth revealing both ‘thinking’ about the weave and the ‘doing’ or the practice of weaving.

Following this, this talk will zigzag between three moments: The first is a handloom weaving conference, Chenetha Chethikalala Sambaralu; Conference on Innovating Technological Cultures in Craft and Handloom Weaving (2018) in Chirala (India). Here, the activists of the NGO created a moment where a dialogic exchange between handloom scholars and handloom practitioners was possible on equal terms. The second moment is one in a research project, The PENELOPE project (2016-2022) in Munich (Germany) that sought to integrate weaving in ancient Greece into the history of science and technology, and found that Indian weavers had a similar problem in integrating their work as knowledge into Science and Technology policies in India. The third moment is emerging of the film Ulaṭbānsi / Zigzagging (2021) as research product, out of the encounter (zigzag) between the two, where weaver musicians of Bhujodi, Kachchh (India) theorise their practice by alternating between the two registers of weaving and music. These tactical interventions indicate the illusion that underlies the dialectic between theory and practice created in the semantic worlds.