Undergraduate Seminar: Maximum City: Visualizing the South Asian Metropolis
Upper Division Seminar: B) Asia, E) transcultural; II) 1200-1800. Every city feels different, sounds different, smells different, and has distinctive urban cultures. We walk, we stroll, we see. But what do we see when we walk in the city? To what extent is our perception of the city mediated by the work of individual architects and urban planners? To what extent is our perception of urbanity mediated by representations of the city in art, literature, and performative practices? This course will utilize major metropolitan centers such as Bombay, Delhi, and Jaipur to analyze how we perceive and experience urbanity, both real and metaphoric. While each of these cities generated a distinctive urban culture, they were also emblematic of wider global tendencies. Thus, diverting from conventional roadmaps, we will jaywalk in medieval and early modern urban pasts. Our examination will range from the work of specific architects and planners to art, literature, and performative practices that have emerged out of and reflect the context of the metropolis. This engagement will be complemented by key texts on early modern urbanity, colonialism and nationalism, and postcolonial theory to understand building practices, philosophical debates, and contestations over space that have produced the South Asian city. Our aim will be to develop a critical vocabulary to engage with urbanisms, representational conventions, and the global flow of ideas more broadly.