Talk: Center for Asian Studies Luncheon Series, CU Boulder

Built Environment Transformations in Rural India 2017.10.05


In this talk, I look at traditional knowledge and practices of building dwellings in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh. How has this knowledge been deployed over the centuries? How is this knowledge carried forward through the generations? These are some of the questions that I am interested in asking. With the global pull towards modernity, there have been changes in the way this knowledge is being deployed. Through oral interviews with traditional craftsmen, community members and visual documentation of these changes in the rural built environment, I hope to answer how and why these changes take place in order to understand the process of the same. By interviewing community members from different categories of difference based on class, caste, religion and gender, I hope to understand how change in knowledge of building is viewed by various communities and what implications it has for future generations? When is change understood as a ‘loss’ rather than a ‘gain’ for these communities? What kind of change in building knowledge is constructive for them? In doing so, I hope to shed further light on immediate and long term effects of change on community lifestyles, life patterns and livelihoods.

Siddarth Menon, M.A. Student in Geography at CU Boulder


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