Organized Panel Session
‘Place’ and ‘space’ as conceptual categories have been defined and theorized in numerous ways across disciplines. Space is typically understood as socially produced, whereas place is associated with a specific location or community. Urban historiography of colonial South Asia predominantly focuses on the use of space in the metropolitan city, emphasizing debates in urban-planning and land use. As a result, narratives of political and social formations in the city often do not take ‘place’ as their central locus. Anthropological scholarship, by contrast, has often centered place-making practices, problematizing various contexts such as rural, urban, global, and national. However, ‘place’ often refers to a specific site in a specific time, even if such sites are constantly in conversation with those beyond them. The papers in this panel analyze the mutual imbrication of space and time inherent in the concept of place. This panel primary aims to foster cross-disciplinary conversations on concepts that are shared but rarely engaged with across disciplinary boundaries.
How and on what grounds do places become sites of historical consciousness, political claims, or articulations of identity? What kind of place-making exercises do itinerant inhabitants employ? And what of mythical places that don’t lend themselves to ready geography? Our panel considers these questions through sites of heritage in the erstwhile princely city of Jaipur; the construction of a mosque’s genealogy amidst contested histories in coastal Tamil Nadu; a Muslim hostel associated with Allahabad University in colonial-era Allahabad; and the emplacement and displacement of an art object from Northeast India.