10th Apr 2017 4:30pm-5:45pm
Sallis Benney Theatre
Gyan Prakash, Professor of History, Princeton University
If Mumbai points to the future of urban civilization on the planet, Suketu Mehta writes, “God help us.” He is not alone in his foreboding about the implications of urban growth, of Bombay becoming “Slumbay.” Mike Davis offers a bleak account of what this means for the Global South in his contemporary classic, Planet of Slums. Powerful as his critique is, it is worth remembering that the cities of poor regions have long served as sources of dystopic fantasies. In this talk, I examine the transition of Bombay to Mumbai at the level of the everyday. I focus on everyday life because it is there that large historical changes and power relations make their presence felt; it is this space that powerful political and economic forces seek to control and change. However, it is for the same reason that it is in this quotidian space that you find lived experiences and imaginations that cope with these powerful forces. It is also there that you encounter the “soft city” of urban desires and dreams; it is there that you find the politics of survival and aspirations. My talk will focus on this politics of survival as Bombay becomes Mumbai.
Please RSVP: M.Stuart@brighton.ac.uk