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Debjani Bhattacharyya, Associate Professor of History, Drexel University
"A City of Swamps: Draining, Urbanization and the Environment in Colonial Calcutta, 1770-1900 "
Thursday, February 18, 2021
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This talk will revisit Calcutta's urbanization as a sedimentation of historical time, silt and human design in order to write the river and the deltaic ecology into the city's history. It will analyze how dramatic shifts in the river impacted the urban land-market and reorganized the tidal landscape of soaking ecologies into a propertied geography through the nineteenth century.
Sponsored by the Bodas Endowment, the Asian Societies, Cultures and Languages Program (ASCL)
and Environmental Studies (ENVS). In conjunction with AAAS 50/ASCL 54.07/ENVS 45/HIST 75.
Free and open to the public
Debjani Bhattacharyya, PhD, explores the intersection of legal and environmental history. Professor Bhattacharyya's research is driven by the desire to understand how legal and economic structures order our conceptualization of environmental transformations and shape how we respond to climate crisis. Her book, Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta (Cambridge University Press, 2018) won the 2019 honorable mention for the best book in Urban History. The book documents how legal experimentation through the 18th and 19th century was central to reshaping the political economy of urban land and waterscapes in the Bengal delta. Through an environmentally grounded history of the urban land market, it argues that ecological change influenced practices of land speculation, urban planning and property law and shows how marshes were transformed into speculative property in the Bengal Delta.
Meeting ID: 945 2046 2118