South Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Arboricultural Possibilities: Gardens, Cities, and Religion in South Asia

Thursday, March 22
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Marriott Balcony B, Mezzanine Level

While gardens as cultural and institutional spaces were prevalent in South Asia from early times, the scholarship on gardens is uneven and quite scarce.  Gardens, trees, and plants played an important role in Buddhist traditions, and there has been some discussion of the ecological contexts of the Sanskrit epics. Mughal gardens and botanical institutions of empire, however, have received a lot of attention. In my presentation, I focus on the relationship between cities and gardens in South Asia exploring the possibility that gardens in general and specific garden designs offer productive spaces for thinking about religion, space, and the South Asian urban.  My contribution explores the following: first, that the garden offers fragments of many temporalities and histories in South Asia, layered, contested, proximate, or distant. Second, densely intertwined with botanical lives are cultural struggles over and hopes for different visions of the city. Third, although seemingly fixed in space, gardens nevertheless offer fragments of many circulations and mobilities that may critically alter our understandings of religion and the urban in South Asia.

Smriti Srinivas

University of California, Davis, California

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2 - Arboricultural Possibilities: Gardens, Cities, and Religion in South Asia



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