Four Geography graduate students will present a preview of the talks they will give at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) meeting in New Orleans April 10-14, 2018:
Sarah Tynen: State Territorialization through Bureaucratic Control: Authoritarian Governance at the Neighborhood Level in China
Aaron Malone: Diaspora Bureaucracy? Formalizing emigrant engagement and the evolution of Mexico’s 3×1 Program
Joseph Tuccillo: Emergent Social Vulnerability: Linking Hazards of Place to Individual Vulnerabilities
Siddharth Menon: Kuccha-Pakka: Gender and the Materiality of Concrete in Rural India
Rural houses in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh are undergoing rampant transformation from age-old kuccha ways of building using mud and bamboo, to contemporary pakka ways of building using concrete and steel. Is this change in material infrastructure of building understood equally by all household and community members? When is change in materiality of built space understood as a “gain” rather than a “loss” for rural communities in Kangra? My fieldwork in this region using participant observation and focus groups, reveal a unique gendered understanding of change in material infrastructure of built space. Furthermore, there seems to be an uneven spread to the incremental order of this change, altering some spaces first and some spaces much later. Are all spaces in a house treated equally by this material transformation from kaccha to pakka? Why do some spaces of a house remain kaccha much later than the rest? What does the materiality of this change tell us about the gendering of these spaces? By drawing on Harvey (2015) and the infrastructure turn, I hope to critically look at the process of transformation in material infrastructure of rural houses in District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh while focusing primarily on the gendered understanding of this process. I argue that it is the inherent materiality of this new pakka material infrastructure, particularly concrete, that provides us with a divergent understanding of this transformation while also affecting the spatial ordering of it.