South Asia

Organized Panel Session

40 - The Northern Bay of Bengal Delta and Inter-Asia Connections

7/6/2018
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Rudraksha, Lower Ground Floor

Life in the delta is like the edge of a knife. They are environmentally vulnerable, densely populated and ecologically susceptible to natural disasters such as cyclones, tsunamis, and typhoons. Deltas were once the centers of trade and commerce in Asia till land transportation overtook inland navigation and state building practices made these landscapes peripheral to the national imagination. A transdisciplinary approach, which highlights the socio-economic, political, cultural and ecological aspects of interaction (Amrith 2013, Biggs 2011, Bose 2006, Iqbal 2010, Siu et al., 2015), is essential to understand the multiple facets of delta and bay regions across Asia.


The objective of the seminar is to test the conventional idea that defines geopolitical regions as land-based, state-centered, and possessing linear histories by focusing on the Bengal deltas as a connected social and ecological space. Deltas have been the subject so far of neglect in academic discourse due to a methodological bias in favor of the land (forest, agriculture and urban landscaper) or the sea-oceanic world (maritime environment, sea routes, trading guilds and port networks). Though deltas remain anonymous and discrete geographical feature within ‘area studies’, they have historically shaped connected worlds between land and water through tributaries and backwaters that unite maritime and terrestrial sites enabling circulation, mobility and spatial histories. Through this panel, we hope to enter into a collegial conversation with academics working on the Bay of Bengal delta and Indian Ocean littoral rim in Asia. 

Presentations:

Debojyoti Das

Yale University, United States

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Samuel Berthet

Shiv Nadar University, India

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Debojyoti Das

Yale University, United States

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Debojyoti Das

Yale University, United States

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Megnaa Mehtta

LSE, United Kingdom

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Samuel Berthet

Shiv Nadar University, India

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