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Arboricultural Possibilities or Gardens as Archives

Date and Time: 
Tuesday, May 15, 2018. 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Baker Room
Workshop: 
Worlds of Work and the Work of Networks 2017
Meeting Description: 

What would happen if we begin to think about work, networks, kinship between humans and non-humans, or religious practice through the perspective of gardens? We know that gardens as cultural and material spaces were prevalent from very early times in South Asia even if there are few material traces of them. For instance, in the textual literature, gardens and parks signal key events in the Buddha’s life and he appears against the identifiable backdrop of several named groves discussing religious topics. While Mughal gardens and botanical institutions of empire have received a lot of attention, in my talk I focus on the relatively unstudied relationship between gardens and cities in contemporary South Asia. Based on my research in southern India, I suggest that they offer productive material and imaginative spaces and traces for rethinking empire or the present, expose novel relationalities, and offer new archives for understanding space or temporality.

Smriti Srinivas is professor of anthropology and director of the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests include religion, cities and urbanism, the body, and South Asia in a global context. She is the author of several books. Her most recent one, A Place for Utopia (2015), examines alternative, occluded, or vernacular urban designs from South Asia. Central to these were themes of spiritual topographies, children, healing, or green spaces. She has received numerous grants for her work from several institutions including the Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of California Humanities Network, the American Academy of Religion, the India Foundation for the Arts, and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. She is currently co-director of a Mellon funded collaborative project on "Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds."

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