The Making of Workers: Domestic Workers and the State in India, 1947-Present
21 August 2018 | 6:30 pm Onwards
Domestic workers are organising and seeking recognition of their labour across the globe. Some have argued that by means of growing collective action, the domestic workers in India are beginning to gain recognition in both labour policies and politics. Given this backdrop of burgeoning movement for the domestic workers’ rights, this presentation offers a long-term perspective on domestic workers’ struggle in India for legal recognition since independence.
In contrast to most prevailing accounts, which usually locate the workers’ struggles in their employers’ domestic space and always beyond/outside the domain of state intervention, it prominently foregrounds the role of state in constituting the everyday relations between domestic workers and their employers, which are otherwise seen as informal and unregulated.
Focusing on the trajectory of domestic worker’s rights in the parliamentary debates and broader labour movement, it challenges some assumptions about how we understand the occupation today. It argues that the domestic workers have not been ‘invisible’, as some have argued. In contrast, this presentation shows how they have actively struggled for their rights, but their rights have been a matter of intense counter-struggle and an exploration of this contestation reveals that what has been at stake is not merely recognition of labour rights but, what Pierre Bourdieu calls, ‘legitimate vision of the social world’.
Sonal Sharma is a PhD student at the Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA). He is also the regional coordinator (South Asia) of the Research Network for Domestic Workers’ Rights (RN-DWR). His research interests lie at the intersection of labor politics, caste, and gender in India.
We are still in the age of encounter
Indigenous rights, the nature of sovereignty, and agonistic constitutionalism
27 July 2018 | 6:00 pm Onwards
This public lecture examines whether Canada’s recent grappling with Indigenous rights has begun to unsettle the longstanding assumption that Canadian institutions are sovereign in a manner that excludes Indigenous sovereignty. It identifies five substantially different claims often associated with sovereignty, arguing that it is worth considering them in disaggregated fashion. It investigates the particular attributes of sovereignty that are placed in issue by the encounter between Indigenous peoples and settler states, in particular the legal and political institutions of Canada. And it explores the specific form that the recomposition of sovereignty should take.
In particular, it suggests that we may be observing a bracketing of the question of sovereignty, not in a way that ignores the question, but that suspends its final determination, allowing multiple assertions of sovereignty to exist in a continual, unresolved – perhaps never resolved – tension. If the question of sovereignty is being reconstructed in this way, then it represents a substantial change in our understanding of what is necessary to sustain a constitutional order. It represents the emergence of what might be called an ‘agonistic constitutionalism’, in which a constitutional order is characterized by divergent, perhaps even contradictory, assertions of fundamental principle, held in continual tension. Such a constitutionalism is especially evident in the Indigenous dimensions of Canadian constitutional practice, but it is also apparent elsewhere. Indeed, it may turn out to be a more common feature of constitutional orders than we have ever suspected.
Prof. Webber is the author of Reimagining Canada: Language, Culture, Community and the Canadian Constitution (1994) and The Constitution of Canada: A Contextual Analysis (2015). He has written widely in constitutional law, Indigenous rights, federalism, cultural diversity, and constitutional theory, in Canada and in relation to other countries (especially Australia). Prof. Webber has held the Canada Research Chair in Law and Society and served as Dean of Law at the University of Victoria. Prior to that, he was Dean of Law at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Professor of Law at McGill University. He was appointed a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation in 2009 and a Fellow of Royal Society of Canada in 2016.
Cities in the cinemas of South India
15 June 2018 | 6:30 pm
The Media Lab at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) is happy to announce a series of four Masterclasses titled Cities in the cinemas of South India. A large amount of research on Indian cinema has focused on Hindi films. The objective of this series of lectures is to delve deeper into the cinemas of South India – specifically the role, position and trajectories of cities in these films.
The first Masterclass by MK Raghavendra, will touch upon the representation of space in Indian popular cinema and the city as an emblem, focusing on the representation of Bengaluru in Kannada cinema. It will take place at the IIHS Bangalore City Campus on 15th June, 2018 at 6.30pm. Details are also available on Facebook. For those not in Bangal
Representation of Bengaluru in Kannada cinema:
Kannada cinema has traditionally not been a pan-Kannadiga cinema but largely confined to former Princely Mysore. Bengaluru has a specific meaning in Kannada cinema because of its historical role under the British in relation to Princely Mysore and subsequently as a site for central government investment. Bengaluru has been viewed ambivalently by Kannada cinema. The talk will primarily be about the changing meaning of Bengaluru to Kannada cinema and its constituency and whether this can have any bearing on our understanding of how Karnataka’s political class views Bengaluru.
MK Raghavendra, who got a master’s degree in science and worked in the financial sector for over twenty-five years, is a writer on culture and politics, much of his writing focused on cinema. His chosen approach is textual analysis with an emphasis on political discourse. He received the National Award for Best Film Critic in 1997 and was awarded a Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 2000-01. He has authored three volumes of academic film criticism – Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema (Oxford, 2008), Bipolar Identity: Region, Nation and the Kannada Language Film (Oxford, 2011) and The Politics of Hindi Cinema in the New Millennium: Bollywood and the Anglophone Indian Nation (Oxford, 2014). He has also written two books on cinema for the general reader 50 Indian Film Classics (Collins, 2009) and Director’s Cut: 50 Film-makers of the Modern Era (Collins, 2013). His essays on Indian cinema find a place in Indian and international anthologies. He has also published extensively in Indian newspapers, periodicals and journals like The Indian Review of Books, Caravan, Economic and Political Weekly, Frontline, The Book Review and Biblio: A Review of Books. His book The Oxford Short Introduction to Bollywood was published in 2016 and an anthology edited by him Beyond Bollywood: The cinemas of South-India (HarperCollins) in 2017. His academic writings have been anthologized in books published by Oxford University Press, Sage, Routledge, BFI (British Film Institute). His writing has been translated into French and Polish. Two of his books are being translated into Russian. He has also written extensively on politics and culture for Firstpost in the past two years. He is the Founder-Editor of online journal Phalanx, which dedicated to debate: http://phalanx.in/pages/content.html
a critical reflection
23 January 2018 | 6.30 pm – 8.00 pm
In this lecture, Prof Dr Bert de Vries reflects on the SDGs from various worldviews and related ethical positions. He will critically examine some features of the SDGs. For instance, the absence of a proper account of the necessary (sub)national governance structures and regimes required to direct economic growth in alignment with SDGs, and the inadequate manner in which planetary constraints, as already explored in the 1972 report Limits to Growth, are examined.
Against this background, the SDGs have to be judged as a typical product of Modernity. They are formulated within a Modernity bubble – or prison – that is characterised by a mixture of Enlightenment optimism about science and technology and belief in the universality of human rights. The SDGs thus may function as a new morality in the humanist tradition, almost as a new religious ideal. Prof Bert de Vries will evaluate this aspect in the broader context of worldviews and associated ethical positions.
Prof Dr Bert J M de Vries has a background in Theoretical Chemistry. He is co-founder and member of the Institute for Energy and Environment (IVEM) at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, where he received his PhD on sustainable resource use. Since 1990 he has been a senior scientist at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Between 2003 and 2013 he has been Professor of Global Change and Energy at Utrecht University in The Netherlands.
He has contributed to and published extensively on resource and in particular energy analysis, modelling and policy; climate and global change modelling; and (complex) systems modelling for sustainable development. He has been actively involved in modelling and scenario construction for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). At present, his interest and research is on worldviews and ethics in relation to sustainability and the connection between sustainable development and the financial system.
He has co-edited several books, including Perspectives on Global Change: The TARGETS Approach (1997, Cambridge University Press) and Mappae Mundi: Humans and their Habitats in a Long-Term Socio-Ecological Perspective (2002, Amsterdam University Press). He published the textbook Sustainability Science, based on ten years of teaching the course Sustainable Development – An Integrating Perspective (2013, Cambridge University Press).
Creative placemaking: an artist’s public agenda | 28 September 2017
Born in Ajmer, Rajasthan in 1981, Aastha studied sculpture at the Panjab and later Delhi University. Her art practise can be defined as public, socially engaged and site specific. She has worked in the neighbourhood of Khirkee in South Delhi since 2005, initially with KHOJ International Artists Association as their Community Arts coordinator till 2011 and independently since.
She is also interested in micro broadcasting and since 2008 worked closely with 90.4MHz Henvalvani community radio station in Chamba, Uttarakhand. Her projects are collaborative, multidisciplinary in nature and mostly self-funded / self sustained long term engagements. With a focus on two geographies / locations (Chamba and Khirkee), she is able to weave meaningful projects with a strong subtext of cultural activism.
She has taught at the Ambedkar University, Delhi and is currently working with Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology. She lives and works between Delhi and Bengaluru.
Spot on a City – Spots in a City: Hamburg Depicted | 7 March 2017
The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, being one of the largest ports in Europe is the second largest city in Germany and the eighth largest city in the European Union.The port district of St. Pauli with its main road Reeperbahn is among the best known European entertainment districts.
Fabian Stoltz will present excerpts from two of his comic illustrations in which the city of Hamburg is prominently featured. The first, “an solchen tagen” (on days like these) is a dystopian nightmare, while the second, “Grosse Freiheit” (Great Freedom, the name of a street in the district of St. Pauli) takes place in the 1980s and is inspired by actual facts within the surroundings of pimp gangs of that time.
Fabian Stoltz was born in 1972. He studied Graphic Design and Illustration in Augsburg, Paris and Hamburg, where he graduated in 2004. He works as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist in Hamburg. http://www.artigebilder.com/
THE URBAN PLANNING CONUNDRUM IN INDIA | 9 February 2017
Emerging challenges such as climate change impacts, mitigation, adaptation and resilience building efforts in the urban areas, continuing urban poverty and transfer of rural poverty to the urban areas, and backlog of SDGs require planning interventions to provide safe and liveable urban environments. At the same time, past experiences suggest that urban planning in the Indian context, and much of in global south have been excluding and displacing. What then is urban planning and what should it do in the Indian context? This talk would unpack some of these issues taking somewhat from the history of urban planning as an activity and profession post second world war and its practice in the global south and moving to frame ideas about the profession in the Indian context. This talk refers to only urban planning and not national level planning or non-planning efforts.
Dr. Darshini Mahadevia is Professor, Faculty of Planning, CEPT University, with over 20 years teaching and research experience. She specializes in research on urban development policies, including housing policy, urban poverty, human and gender development. In particular, her research is focused on inclusive urban planning. She has published 13 books, booklets and discussion papers and 73 articles in books and journals besides newspaper and website articles. Her latest publication is ‘Handbook of Urban Inequalities’, co-authored with Sandip Sarkar and published by Oxford University Press. In 2009 she incepted the Centre for Urban Equity which she headed till March 2013; CUE functions as a National Resource Centre for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.
NATURE IN THE CITY: BENGALURU IN THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE | 24 November 2016
In this talk, Professor Nagendra examines the past, present, and future of nature in Bengaluru, one of India’s largest cities. Though threatened, nature in the city exhibits a remarkable tenacity. She charts changes in nature from the 6th century CE to the present, drawing on original social-ecological field research, coupled with archival analysis, satellite remote sensing, and oral histories. She concludes by exploring possible pathways to more sustainable and inclusive urban futures with a vision of a better future. Bengaluru is the story of a city where nature strives, yet thrives, providing insights on the prospects for urban sustainability in the era of global change.
Harini Nagendra is a Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, India. She is an ecologist who uses satellite remote sensing coupled with field studies of biodiversity, archival research, institutional analysis, and community interviews to examine the factors shaping the social-ecological sustainability of forests and cities in the south Asian context. She has conducted research and taught at multiple institutions, including most recently as a Hubert H Humphrey Distinguished Visiting Professor at Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Prof. Nagendra received a 2013 Elinor Ostrom Senior Scholar award for her research and practice on issues of the urban commons, and a 2007 Cozzarelli Prize with Elinor Ostrom from the US National Academy of Sciences.
STORIES FROM THE PROTOVILLAGE | 22 November 2016
Kalyan Akkipeddi has been living and working in a remote drought-prone village called Tekulodu in the second driest and one of the poorest districts in India (Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh) since August 2010, building and leveraging local social leadership capacities to co-create ProtoVillage – the prototype of a Resilient village. His vision is a rural India that is a network of self-reliant, interdependent and resilient rural communities. The underlying imperative is to emphasize the idea of ‘creating resilience’, rather than focusing on ‘eradicating poverty’. Kalyan’s presentation will focus on the success stories and inherent challenges in attaining this vision.
UNDERSTANDING FLOODS: PERCEPTIONS AND POLICY | 19 October 2016
Dr. Mishra’s work has centered around the management of floods and State policy around mitigating its effects. His talk will focus on the perception of different stakeholders involved in understanding floods and its control like farmers, engineers, contractors, and politicians. In addition, the talk will explore the shift of floods as a rural phenomenon to an increasingly urban one; and the possible direction of policy initiatives in the area.
Dr. Mishra, an engineer by training, brings years of grass-roots experience to bear in the study of floods, waterlogging and irrigation, with special emphasis on the northern Gangetic plains of Bihar. He has documented the major rivers of north Bihar, their history, the cultural aspects of the rivers and relationship with the rivers and the settlers along the rivers, and the impact of the modern flood control interventions on the rivers and the society. His work uncovers a wide range of aspects that need to be looked into afresh like agriculture, non-farm employment, migration, health, education, and access to civic amenities etc., to fully understand, and inform our approach to, floods. Dr. Mishra is also the convener of an informal group of flood activists called Barh Mukti Abhiyan.
In addition to his research and advocacy work, Dr. Mishra is also a prolific author, publishing in various registers. He has published a book on the River Mahananda (titled Bandini Mahananda in Hindi), a boundary river between Bihar and Bengal, in 1994. This was followed by a bi-lingual (Hindi and English) book on the Bhutahi Balan (2004) (Bhutahi Nadi aur Takniki Jhar Phoonk / Story of a Ghost River and Engineering Witchcraft). In 2005 he wrote a book on the Kamla River (2005) titled Baghawat Par Majboor Mithila Ki Kamala Nadi/ The Kamla-River and People on Collision Course. His book on the River Kosi titled ‘Dui Paatan Ke Beech Mein – Kosi Nadi Ki Kahaani’ was published in Hindi in 2006. Its updated English version titled “Trapped! Between the Devil and Deep Waters – Story of Bihar’s Kosi River” came out in 2008. His most recent work is on the river Bagmati titled Bagmati Ki Sadgati (2010). Its English version was titled “River Bagmati: Bounties Become a Curse” and was published in August 2012.
CITIES OF DESIRE
Periurban Narratives of Land and Land Value in Kolkata and Hyderabad | 3 October 2016
The peripheries of Kolkata and Hyderabad experienced significant land economy transformations, in the period following liberalization and increased decentralization of fiscal responsibilities to state governments. Set within a context of economic and political regionalism, and place- making objectives that looked towards new investments, Kolkata and Hyderabad’s periurban transformations reveal the definitive role of state governments at the city- level, to attract and accommodate local and external investors. The talk will engage with different narratives of land value, which emerged as collaborations and projects took shape. These narratives were embedded in multiple processes of land value creation and articulation, and multiple imaginations of urban futures, differentiated not only across the public- private spectrum, but also across government agencies and different types of land users.
About the speaker:
Sudeshna Mitra is faculty at IIHS. Her teaching and research look at land economy, land administration and urban & regional planning questions. Recently, she has been involved with a project on land records management and process reforms across five states. She has a PhD in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and has taught at the School of Planning and Architecture, Cornell University and Cornell in Washington.
WHY ALL URBAN HYDROLOGY IS SOCIAL HYDROLOGY? EVIDENCE FROM BENGALURU, INDIA | 28 September 2016
Dr. Deepak Malghan, Centre for Public Policy, IIM Bengaluru
One of the principal concerns of hydrology is to characterise the dynamic water balance in a watershed. Rapidly burgeoning urban agglomerations in Asia present a unique challenge to hydrology as natural hydrological cycles are severely perturbed by human activity. Bengaluru receives an average rainfall of about 1800 MLD (million litres a day) but also imports 1450 MLD of river water from a distant source. Groundwater withdrawal rates are poorly characterised but the last two decades have been witness to major qualitative and quantitative changes in Bengaluru’s aquifers. Deepak Malghan and his colleagues develop a spatially explicit social metabolism framework to account for the tight coupling of social and biophysical systems that is used to characterise this “social hydrology” of Bengaluru. In his presentation, Deepak will show how such a model can contribute to understanding of the three central aspects of the urban water conundrum — equity, biophysical sustainability, and economic efficiency.
About the speaker:
Deepak Malghan is an ecological economist with primary interest in theoretical models of the economy ecosystem interaction problem. He is currently revising a book manuscript, On Being the Right Size: Scale, Ecosystem, and Economy that attempts to reformulate ecological economics from a “scale” perspective. Deepak is also working on another new multiyear book project (provisionally titled Citius, Altius, Fortius: A History of How the World Became Efficient). This project aims to uncover the global social and intellectual history of the idea of efficiency from its origins in the Scottish Enlightenment to the present time. His empirical research interests include social hydrology and ecological distribution. Deepak’s research is highly interdisciplinary and routinely uses technical tools from economics, chemical engineering, historical analysis, hydrology, and ecology. Deepak is on the faculty of Centre for Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management Bengaluru where he directs the Ecological Political Economy Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in ecological economics from the University of Maryland and MPA from Princeton University.
URBANIZATION, DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION AND THE GROWTH OF CITIES IN INDIA, 1870-2020 | 19 August 2016
Chinmay Tumbe, Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A)
Why is India urbanizing slowly? Why do some regions urbanize faster than others? Why do some cities grow faster than others?
This talk examines these questions and the nature of urbanization and urban growth in India since the late 19th century against the backdrop of the unfolding demographic transition. We conceptualize two important themes – demographic divergence and remittance urbanism- that have had and continue to have a major influence on the evolution of urban India. These themes are important to understand several urban mysteries such as India’s relatively low level of urbanization corresponding to its level of income, the sustenance of large rural-urban wage gaps despite considerable labour mobility and the paradox of faster urban growth combined with slower urbanization in North India relative to South India.
Chinmay Tumbe is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A). An economist by training, he has worked in academic, corporate and government institutions in India, UK and Italy and his research has been featured in journals, newspapers and policy portals. He holds a Masters from the London School of Economics and a doctorate from the Indian Institute of Management Bengaluru. He was the Jean Monnet Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute in Florence, Italy in 2013 and was with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences Hyderabad in 2014-16. His research interests lie in urban economics and economic history and his latest research project is titled “The Growth of Cities in India, 1870-2020.”
PUBLIC PANEL ON RETHINKING RISK AND RESETTLEMENT IN URBAN AREAS | 13 August 2016
About the Panel
People have been ‘resettled’ for decades by governments and institutions in the hope of achieving development or moving them out of harm’s way. Current forms of resettlement, as experienced by the people as well as the city, most often do not have the outcomes imagined at the outset. There are social, economic and environmental implications that most often outdo the limited physical ‘benefits’ of resettlement, in the immediate and/or the long term, especially given the pressures of urbanization and growing climatic risks, neither as well understood.
This Public Panel is aimed at broadening the debates on existing practices of resettlement, planning and policy frameworks in the context of which these are undertaken and re-imagining resettlement for achieving risk-reduction.
About the Panelists
Allan Lavell is a founding member and coordinator for Central America and the Caribbean of the Latin American Network for the Social Study of Disaster Prevention-LA RED. At present is member of the International Council for Sciences World Committee on Integrated Research on the Reduction of Disaster Risk. Author of more than 100 texts, books, chapters and articles of which more than 50 are on environmental risk and disaster themes; international consultant to more than 20 international agencies on 60 different missions, he has also given 139 conferences in 36 countries in four continents, and has worked in all Latin American countries and in some African (3) and Asian (6) nations. At present he coordinates the Programme for the Social Study of Disaster Risk at the Secretariat General’s office for the Latin American Social Science Faculty FLACSO- in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Anant Maringanti is the director of Hyderabad Urban Lab, a multi-disciplinary research programme run by the Right to the City Foundation. His research and teaching interests centre on questions of urbanization and globalization from the South Asian vantage point. He is widely published in national and international academic journals on social movements, politics of development and urbanization. As an evolving experiment in urban research, Hyderabad Urban Lab, has been developing collaborative projects involving media professionals, planners, technologists, academic researchers and legal professionals.
TSUNAMI HAZARD AND FLOOD RISK FOR COASTAL CITIES | 5 May 2016
Uncertainties and visualization for planning and emergency relief
About the talk
Planning needs to account for a wide range of adequate predictions in order to mitigate, not exacerbate, the risk due to floods. This talk will present approaches to flood hazard modelling and associated risk calculations. The emphasis is on uncertainties for planning purposes, particularly in the context of tsunamis. The role and limitations of early warning systems for tectonic events are addressed. The presentation will showcase visualization tools for planning and decision-making under uncertainty.
About the speaker
Dr. Serge Guillas is Reader in the Department of Statistical Science, University College London. He works on environmental statistics and uncertainty quantification of complex computer models. He has long been involved in an interdisciplinary effort to assess the long term evolution of stratospheric ozone. His most recent work include uncertainty quantification for tsunami models.
ANTICIPATION AND THE CITY | 10 February 2016
Rhythm, Learning and Virtue amongst the Moving Flower Sellers of Mangaluru
Ian M. Cook
How do poor ‘low-caste’ migrant street vendors navigate their multiple marginalities and the ethical-political contestations of their place of work to become an acknowledged and expected part of everyday urban life? Ian M. Cook argues that, for door to door flower sellers in the smaller coastal city of Mangaluru, acceptance is, in part, predicated on being anticipated. Arriving to the same place at the same time each day to deliver flowers for garlanding deities in homes and workplaces is not only vendors’ crucial market advantage, but also a rhythmic practice that, through performances of regularity, produces temporal depth, re-frames customer-seller dependencies and ultimately allows flower sellers to ethically affirm their place in the city.
Part of a wider project that rethinks cities as experiences of patterned movements – collections of rhythmic modes – rather than through abstract ‘spaces’, and an attempt to shift urban studies’ gaze away from the metropolises and to India’s ‘smaller cities’, the talk explores rhythms and the city through a detailed ethnography of one particular group of flower sellers. The presentation will also include short film excerpts, shot with the same group.
Bio: Ian M. Cook is from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Central European University, Budapest. He is visiting IIHS as part of the Urban Knowledge Network Asia programme.
GANGES WATER MACHINE | 28 January 2016
Terrestrial and Celestial Change in the Ganga Basin
Of all the ways one might qualify the Ganga River Basin—rural, urban, suburban, landscape, drosscape, edge city, and megalopolis–none of these accurately defines such elaborately engineered spaces and infrastructures. Instead, through the construction of thousands of kilometres of canals and the sinking of millions of tubewells, the basin has been transformed into a giant water machine. From the foothills of the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, the Ganges Machine cuts across agricultural fields, cities, and hamlets, inscribing in its monumental re-organization of space and infrastructure a new way of life. Throughout this transformed river basin flowed the forces of tradition and innovation, dotted by diffuse urban projects (regional urban capitals), temporary tent cities (Magh and Kumbh Melas), miniature infrastructures (tubewells), and colossal public works projects (Ganges Canal). Its spiritual and religious significance inspired reverence in pilgrims; its archaeological and architectural monuments attracted painters in search of the picturesque; its seasonal ebb and flow of water perplexed farmers and engineers alike; and its fast paced urbanization vexed geographers, planners, and architects. In short, the physical and cultural complexity of this territory has challenged traditional terminology. Even though various infrastructures of the Ganges Machine affect millions in their daily lives, there is no map that legibly renders the terrestrial and celestial layers of this unexampled landscape. This discussion will focus on a decade long project to create an atlas—a dynamic atlas—of the Ganges Machine: a method of mapping that exposes the juxtaposing layers of infrastructure and adjoining built forms. The goal of this dynamic atlas is to not only map space, but also map how spaces change over time. At a time when the Government of India is beginning to invest a $1.5 billion loan from the World Bank to clean up the Ganges River, mapping the choreography of water and human settlement is more important than ever.
Anthony Acciavatti is an architect, cartographer, and historian. He is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University in the City of New York and is a principal of the design firm Somatic Collaborative. He has spent the last decade hiking, driving, and boating across India’s Ganga River Basin in order to map it and to understand the growing conflicts over water for drinking, agriculture, and industry. The results of this field and archival work are published in his recent book, Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River (2015) Along with the book, Ganges Water Machine is an internationally traveling exhibition. His work has been exhibited in Asia, Europe, as well as North and South America.
THINKING FROM AND ABOUT CITIES | 18 JANUARY 2016
Reflections from Jakarta and Johannesburg
AbdouMaliq Simone (Max Planck Institute) is an urbanist whose work has been central to thinking about African and Southeast Asian cities, notions of urban change and everyday life, infrastructure and politics. He is the author most recently of “City Life from Jakarta to Dakar: Movements at the Crossroads”, as well as “For the City Yet to Come: Changing Life in Four African Cities.“
Kelly Gillespie teaches Anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her work has focused on violence and security in pre- and post-apartheid South Africa, with a particular focus on prisons.
They will be in conversation with Gautam Bhan on themes of southern urbanism, sharing insights from their research and political practice.
Underground Water: Techno-Political Ecology in ‘Unauthorised’ Delhi | 5 November 2015
India is the world’s largest user of groundwater, and North Indian aquifers are being depleted at some of the fastest rates in the world. As urbanisation increases, water security is likely to become an increasingly pressing issue. Like many of India’s fastest growing cities, groundwater use in peri-urban, unplanned areas of Delhi is extensive and essential, while also being weakly regulated. The minimal service provided through tubewells and tankers has till now allowed a discretionary role for elected representatives, while deferring the cost of providing treated ‘piped’ water and passing it to consumers forced to rely on expensive ‘informal’ supply through tankers, tubewell networks, and ‘local’ bottled water. This ‘underground political ecology’ of water, both sub-soil and illicit, is under-explored in research to date. Using the election of the Aam Aadmi Party and its mandate of providing water through a public network, and the emergence of Public Private Partnerships aimed at delivering water as a profitable enterprise, as two ‘diagnostic events’ this presentations analyses the techno-politics structuring human-water relationships in a complex and changing environment. It draws on 18 months’ field research with residents, private suppliers and government agencies, to follow these initiatives, and their attempted restructuring of water governance in two unauthorised colonies in the south of the city.
Matt Birkinshaw is a PhD researcher in Human Geography and Urban Studies at the London School of Economics. He studies urban infrastructure and governance in Indian cities with a focus on water supply in the south of Delhi. Matt has research experience supporting a number of projects, mainly working on South Asia and urban governance; and has professional experience with international and community development NGOs in various capacities.
Live stream link
Taming cities or repoliticising urban policy? | 19 August 2015
Prof. Adriana Allen
Cities can be understood as the product of multiple taming practices and strategies, ranging from the domestication of nature to secure key resources, to the disciplining of the relational and organizational structures and behaviours that shape everyday urban life. But cities are also profoundly untameable because they are a complex and often unintelligible web of policy-driven and everyday practices that produce them in fundamentally political ways.
In this presentation I navigate through this web exploring a repertoire of urban policies applied in two Latin American metropolises (Lima and Mexico) through a number of favorite taming narratives: from the containment of urban sprawl through zero growth pacts, service non-provision, and payment for ecosystem services to risk mitigation and land titling policies. The talk explores how these policy narratives and interventions try to act upon seemingly undesirable trajectories of socio-economic and environmental change though often perpetuating and reproducing what is deemed as ‘undesirable’ in the first place.
Adriana Allen is Professor of Development Planning and Urban Sustainability at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London, where she leads the Research Cluster on Environmental Justice, Urbanisation and Resilience (EJUR). Originally trained as a planner in Argentina, she specialised over the years in the fields of urban environmental planning and political ecology.
An illustrated lecture on “Creative Spaces in South Asian Cinema” | 30 June, 2015
Meenakshi Shedde explores how spaces are imaginatively used in South Asian cinema–literally and metaphorically, as well as lively, invisible spaces, and otherworldly spaces, with clips from hard hitting, reflective and nuanced contemporary films, including “Queen” and “Char..The No Man’s Island” (India), “Television” (Bangladesh), “28” (Sri Lanka) and “Highway” (Nepal).
About the speaker
Meenakshi Shedde is India and South Asia Consultant to the Berlin International Film Festival, and Consultant to the Dubai International Film Festival, based in Mumbai. She has been Curator/Consultant to film festivals worldwide, including the Toronto, Locarno, Busan, IFFI-Goa, Kerala and Mumbai film festivals. Winner of India’s National Award for Best Film Critic, she has been on the jury of 20 international film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice. She has been Script Consultant/Mentor to the Locarno Film Festival, Mumbai Mantra-Sundance Institute Screenwriters’ Lab, Clinik South Asian Filmmakers’ Lab-Kathmandu, and the NFDC Script Committee. She freelances for media worldwide, including Variety, Screen International, Cahiers du Cinema, Forbes Life India and Sunday Midday. Her India Indie Club, a video film review series of indie and regional language films, appears on CNN-IBN TV and ibnlive.in.com. A filmmaker, she has taught and lectured on cinema worldwide, and been Mentor to film critics at the Berlin and Melbourne Film Festival talent campuses. She has written for 12 books.
Economic Survey: Taking Stock of the Indian Economy | 22 June, 2015
Talk by Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, Government of India.
About Dr. Arvind Subramanian
Arvind Subramanian is on leave for public service from his position as the Dennis Weatherstone Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He currently serves as the Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India. He has also served as a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. His book Eclipse: Living in the shadow of China’s Economic Dominance was published in September 2011, and he is co-author of Who Needs to Open the Capital Account? (2012). Foreign Policy magazine has named him as one of the world’s top 100 Global thinkers in 2011. He was assistant director in the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. He served at the GATT (1988-92) during the Uruguay round of negotiations and taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (1999-2000) and at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (2008-10). He has written on growth, trade, development, institutions, aid, oil, India, Africa, and the World Trade Organisation. He has published widely in academic and other journals. He advises the Indian Government in different capacities, including as a member of the Finance Minister’s expert group on the G-20. His book India’s Turn: Understanding the Economic Transformation was published in 2008 by Oxford University Press. He obtained his undergraduate degree from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi; his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, India; and his M.Phil and D.Phil from the University of Oxford, UK.
“It’s a Question of My Dignity”
Narratives of Immigrant Workers in Montreal – A Talk by Yumna Siddiqi 18 June, 2015 | 6 pmCanada has historically relied on immigrants to meet its labour needs, and this continues to be the case today. Though the Provincial and Federal Governments have established programs aimed at helping immigrants integrate and find jobs, they consistently experience higher rates of unemployment, are employed at lower levels than their educational qualifications and experience merit, and increasingly form a “precariat.” These imbalances are increasing as the government shifts towards temporary rather than permanent migration opportunities for workers. In collaboration with the Immigrant Workers Center in Montreal, Yumna Siddiqi interviewed a number of immigrant workers in 2011. When she began, Siddiqi had hoped to glean accounts of immigrant experiences and analyse these narratives. But the project took another dimension when the workers used her interview drafts to conduct their own interviews and produce podcasts. Yumna Siddiqi will speak about her project and discuss the significance of sharing stories in the context of community organising. Yumna Siddiqi is an Associate Professor of English at Middlebury College, where she teaches postcolonial literature and theory, diaspora, migration studies, and literary theory. Her book Anxieties of Empire and the Fiction of Intrigue (Columbia University Press, 2008) explores the contradictions of postcolonial modernity. Her current research is on cities, postcolonial migrants and literature. She volunteers and serves on the board of the Immigrant Workers Center in Montreal.
Urban-scale Energy Analysis of the Built Environment | 8 May 2015
Dr. Ruchi Choudhary, Associate Professor Energy Efficient Cities Initiative, Engineering Department, University of Cambridge The use of transient computer simulations (e.g. TRNSYS, EnergyPlus) for quantifying energy use of individual buildings is now standard in both research and industry. However, their use has been computationally prohibitive at larger scales, in the context of thousands or millions of buildings within districts and cities. As a result, city scale analyses of the built environment, even when bottom up, have to neglect or simplify dynamic and transient features of buildings. Yet, it is often that time varying features (concurrence of peak energy demand) and dynamically interacting components (diurnal heat storage) yield the most economically achievable energy efficiencies. Furthermore, tradeoffs with related energy systems – such as transportation – necessitates flexible spatial and time scales of analysis. We present a new city-scale energy simulation platform that offers a spatially differentiated, hourly analysis of energy consumed by the built environment. The City of Westminster, within central London, was chosen for the first pilot application of this simulation platform due to diversity of building types and high-energy demand. The lecture will highlight the challenges associated with its development, as well how it supports the assessment of synergistic energy systems in cities.
The origins of astronomy, the universe, and earth
Dr. Bryan Penprase gave a talk entitled ‘The origins of astronomy, the universe, and earth – and how astronomy influences modern culture and the frontiers of science’. It focused on archeoastronomy, the history of the early universe and its impact on the contemporary earth systems and the methods that we are using to explore this.
About the Speaker
Dr. Bryan Penprase is the Frank P. Brackett Professor of Astronomy at Pomona College.
Changing ideas and practices for making cities fair | 15 January, 2015
Ideally being born a man or a woman, black or white, Muslim or Christian, gay or straight, able or disabled, should make no difference to an individual or communities life choices, but in contemporary cities this is rarely if ever the case. Starting with questions about what an increasingly urban world implies for fairness at the national or global scale in the 21st century, the geographical reference points for this investigation of “fair cities” are both northern and southern urban places. This lecture traces the divergent and contradictory intellectual and practice based traditions that the notion of fairness in the city implies, including the work on urban equity (rights, opportunity, access, affordability); justice (electoral; procedural, distributional, enforcement and); redistribution (urban welfare and post conflict); the public good and the good city. The central point is to demonstrate that ideas and practices about fairness in the city vary over time and space and that while there is appropriate concern about rising exclusion and the withdrawal of social protection in some centres, typically older more affluent cities, from new urban nodes, largely in the global south, there are counter tendencies and new innovations that support the utopian aspiration that cities will provide a better future for the millions of new residents that will call them home over the decades to come.
About the speaker
Susan Parnell is an urban geographer in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and is on the Executive of the African Centre for Cities at UCT. She has held previous academic positions at Wits University and the University of London (SOAS) and visiting research fellowships from the LSE, Oxford University, Durham University, the British Academy and was a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at University College London in 2012. She is a widely published author of scholarly papers. Recent co-edited books include Climate at a City Scale, A Routledge Handbook of Cities of the Global South and Africa’s Urban Revolution. She serves on the Editorial Boards of many ISI ranked academic journals dealing with urban and development issues.Sue’s early academic research was in the area of urban historical geography and focussed on the rise of racial residential segregation and the impact of colonialism on urbanisation and town planning in Sub-Saharan Africa. Post democracy in South Africa much of her work focused on issues of urban transformation (local government, welfare and urban environmental justice. By its nature this research was not purely academic, but involved liasing with communities, local and national government and international donors. This mode of translational research now forms a core mode of work at the African Centre for Cities.). Recently Sue has returned to historical research, working with a number of other partners on explaining the planning deficits of African cities. Sue has a prominent position with UCT leadership structures, served on the boards of several local NGOs concerned with poverty alleviation, sustainability and gender equity, is a regular keynote speaker and is part of national and international advisory research panels.
Urban Legacies and Futures: India and China in Southeast Asia | 9 January, 2015
Urban Legacies and Futures: India and China in Southeast Asia will be a conversation between Brian McGrath, Dean of Parsons School of Constructed Environments in New York and Aromar Revi, Director of the India Institute of Human Settlement on the deeply entwined histories of India, China and Southeast Asia, and how these past links can inspire the design of sustainable urban futures. The conversation will be structured around four questions
Today new infrastructures, mass tourism and social media are relinking people to the architectural splendors and genius of the pre-colonial world system across Asia. How can these renewed connections overcome the uneven and unsustainable development of the more recent colonial and cold-war eras? Is it possible to recover a place for the architecture of the Asian city as a collective cultural legacy and future of the form and structure for India, China and Southeast Asia?
How have the architectural legacies of India and China impacted Southeast Asia? How have Chinese and Indian diasporas shaped cities in Southeast Asia? Examples from will be presented including Angkor, Pagan, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya; and Bangkok,
How did colonial and cold war eras create new boundaries and discontinuities between India, China and Southeast Asia? The recent history of political strife and unprecedented flooding in Bangkok since the 1997 financial crisis will be presented in parallel with a description of the transformation of the city’s central shopping district as well as the industrial periphery.
How will the new infrastructural logistics reconnect ASEAN with India and China?
Decolonizing Architecture | 25 November 2014
Join us as two of the founders of the DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) share their work. DAAR is an architectural studio and art residency programme based in Beit Sahour, Palestine. DAAR’s work combines discourse, spatial intervention, collective learning, public meetings and legal challenges. DAAR’s practice is centred on one of the most difficult dilemmas of political practice: how to act both propositionally and critically within an environment in which the political force field is so dramatically distorted?
Jinnealogy: Archival Amnesia and Islamic Theology in Post-Partition Delhi | 20 Oct 2014
What is the relationship between theology and the shifting textures of urban life? In contemporary Delhi, stories are told about long-lived jinns as transmitters connecting human beings centuries apart in time. In petitions deposited to jinn-saints in a ruined medieval palace, medieval ideas of justice come together with modern bureaucratic techniques. Both stories and rituals attest to a theological newness intricately entwined with the transformations of the post-colonial city’s spiritual and physical landscapes. Jinns are present in the blank spaces of the map, where the plans of the bureaucracy, the verdicts of the judiciary, and the illegibility of the post-Partition Indian state coincide to attempt vast erasures of the city’s Muslim landscapes. Jinnealogy, the supercession of human chains of memory by the long-lives of the jinn, challenges the magical amnesia of the state by bringing up other temporalities, political theologies, and modes of witnessing against the empty, homogenous time of a bureaucratically constituted present.
About the Speaker
Anand Vivek Taneja is a historically informed anthropologist working on Islam in urban South Asia. His research and teaching interests include historical and contemporary Islam and inter-faith relations in South Asia, the anthropology of religion, everyday life and post-colonial urbanism, and Bombay cinema.
From Hierarchy to Heterarchy in the Information Age – The state and the Municipal Reforms Programme in Karnataka | 16 Oct 2014
The presentation uses the Municipal Reforms Programme in Karnataka, India to examine the role of the state in ‘heterarchies’, an emerging organisational and institutional arrangement, cited appropriate to address ‘wicked problems’ of development. In tracing the outcomes of two reforms, Helpline and Aasthi, the presentation demonstrates the criticality of the state’s centrality in ensuring envisaged outcomes.
About the Speaker
Dr. Anjali K. Mohan is a regional planner with a PhD in e-governance from IIIT Bengaluru. Her research areas include development, governance, public policy and information and communication technologies and development (ICTD).
CLIMATE CHANGE 2014
Mitigation of Climate Change – IPCC Assessment Report 5 | Thursday 1 May 2014
N H RAVINDRANATH
Professor, Center For Sustainable Technologies, Indian Institute Of Science, Bengaluru
IIHS Director Aromar Revi In Conversation with Professor N H Ravindranath on IPCC working group III Report on Mitigation of Climate Change
Prof. Ravindranath has focused his research, advocacy and publications on various dimensions of Climate Change -Mitigation Assessment, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory in Land Use Sectors, Impact of Climate Change and Vulnerability Assessment in Forest and Agro-ecosystems, Adaptation and Climate Resilience, Forest Ecology, CDM and REDD+ Projects. He has also worked on Bioenergy, Biofuels and Biomass Production, Environmental/Ecosystem Services, and Citizen Science. Having published over 150 peer reviewed research papers and 8 books, he has also authored several IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Assessment Reports on Climate Change. Currently he is an author for Working Group 3 – Mitigation. He is also an author for the IPCC Synthesis Report – 2014
Professor Ravindranath is a member of Expert Committees of several national and international organizations.
IPCC Approved the Working Group 3 report on “Mitigation of Climate Change” during April 2014. This presentation will focus on the key findings of the report. Working group III contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) assesses literature on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic and social aspects of mitigation of climate change. The report created tremendous interest among the policy community, media, NGO’s and corporate sector on the political and economic implications of various mitigation pathways and scenarios. Some questions to be addressed include: Can we stabilize climate change at < 20C? What are the mitigation opportunities to stabilize climate change in different sectors and regions? What are the costs and potentials of different mitigation opportunities in different sectors and regions? What policies and measures are required to promote mitigation actions? What are the implications of delayed actions?
The talk will specifically address the following issues:
Trends in flows and stocks of greenhouse gases and their drivers
Mitigation pathways and measures in the context of sustainable development
Long-term mitigation pathways to stabilize climate change.
Sectoral and cross-sectoral mitigation pathways and measures
Mitigation policies and institutions
Implications of delayed actions to stabilize climate change at < 20C.
What role for cities in the battle for sustainable development?
An IIHS public lecture by David Sattherthwaite, Senior Fellow, International Institute for Environment and Development | 27 February 2014
In his public lecture, London-based David Satthertwaite, Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development and one of the world’s leading urban experts, will talk on what is needed to make cities around the world meet sustainable development goals. He will outline key urban agendas that will allow cities to address risks locally, including critical areas such as urban poverty and universal coverage for basic services, disaster risk reduction, as well as climate change adaptation and resilience.
David will highlight the central role of local governments and of the representative organisations and federations of the urban poor, key learnings from innovators and what allowed them to be effective, and the need for an international financial system that gives far more attention to supporting locally driven sustainable development, with examples from cities around the world.
18 April 2018 | 6:30 pm
At this event, Jai Sen will be in conversation with IIHS faculty Solomon Benjamin and with Madhu Bhushan, independent activist-writer-(re)searcher [tbc], speaking about the book and situating movements and uprisings in internationalism from grassroots to a global level.
About the Editor
Jai Sen is an activist/researcher/author in and on movement. Earlier an organiser, then a researcher into popular movement for a place to live, for the past decade and more he has worked to promote critical engagement with the World Social Forum and emerging world movement – as moderator of the listserve WSMDiscuss, as organiser of meetings and discussions across movements in the course of the World Social Forum, and as editor of several books. He helped found and remains associated with CACIMand with OpenWord.
PublicTexts is a series of conversations held at IIHS with authors about their work, using particular texts as starting points for dynamic, contemporary and free-ranging conversations about the present.
The event will be held at 6:30 pm on 18 April 2018 at the IIHS Bengaluru City Campus. Entry is free and all are welcome.
1. Because I have a Voice: Queer Politics in India
In the opening PublicTexts event, editors Arvind Narrain and Gautam Bhan on their book “Because I have a voice: Queer Politics in India,” (Yoda Press, 2005) were in conversation with Mario D’Penha, historian and activist, on contemporary queer politics as well as writing and activism around sexuality on 11 October 2013.
2. The Integral Nature of Things: Critical Reflections on the Present
In this PublicTexts event, Amlanjyoti Goswami was in conversation with Dr. Lata Mani, author, feminist historian and cultural critic, about her new book, “The Integral Nature of Things: Critical Reflections on the Present (Routledge, 2013)” on 12 December 2013. The book meditates on the interrelations and interconnections between drawing from literary theory, sociocultural analysis and cultural studies.
3. Bengaluru: Roots and Beyond
In this PublicTexts event, Sathya Prakash Varanashi, architect and convener of the INTACH, was in conversation with Maya Jayapal, urban historian and author of her recently released book Bengaluru: Roots and Beyond (Niyogi Books, 2014) on 24 April 2014. Maya Jayapal’s other publications include Old Singapore (Oxford University Press, 1992), Old Jakarta (Oxford University Press, 1993), Bengaluru : Story of the City (EastWest Books, 1997).
4. Shadow Play
In this PublicTexts event held on 11 March, 2015, Dr. Vimala RamaRao, was in conversation with author Shashi Deshpande, about her recent novel, Shadow Play (Aleph Book Company, 2013), a masterful meditation on kinship, marriage, ambition and the changing face of urban India,
5. Looking Away
Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India. On April 24, 2015, author Harsh Mander in conversation with Samar Halarnkar at the launch of his new book, Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India analysed the many different fault lines which crisscross Indian society today.
A City in the World: In this PublicTexts event, Jayaraj Sundaresan, Fellow, Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London will be in conversation with Amrita Shah, Journalist, Writer and Visiting Faculty at Centre for Contemporary Studies, IISc, on her recent book, Ahmedabad – A City in the World (Bloomsbury, 2015). This event was held on 4 February 2016.
7. Trashonomics : solid waste management | A simple guide for children
In this PublicTexts event, authors of ‘Trashonomics’ book by Solid Waste Management Round Table, Archana Kashyap and Claire Rao were in conversation with the experts:
Ms. Sowmya Reddy – Animal rights activist
Ms. Almitra Patel – SWM expert committee
Ms. Vani Murthy – SWM expert/urban farmer
Mr. Mansoor Gous – Recyclable waste manager/expert
Dr. Sandhya – BBMP Medical Officer Health
The conversation was about creating awareness on waste management at a young age and how this book would act as a guide for everyone to understand, practice segregation, recycling and reusing of waste and to become responsible citizens of tomorrow. This event was held on 16 September 2016.