Karuna Dietrich Wielenga

Newton International Fellow
School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies

Karuna Dietrich Wielenga completed her masters and PhD in History from the University of Delhi. Dietrich Wielenga's doctoral dissertation explored the changing world of handloom weavers in south India – and the economic restructuring of the industry – from the early nineteenth to the mid twentieth century. She has been a Newton Fellow in Oxford since March 2016. Her current research is a study of the historical emergence of the informal sector in India, looking at the complex interactions and conflicts between labour, capital and the state in a variety of industries between 1930 and 1970. The end result was the denial of protection under labour laws to the large majority of Indian workers; many of the arguments used to justify this are echoed quite strikingly in the modern gig economy. Dietrich Wielenga is also working on a book based on her doctoral dissertation to be published in 2018 by the British Academy.

Her research interests are in the realm of economic history; the history of artisanal industries; the development of capitalism in India; the history of the informal sector.