Encontros sobre Arte e Império


17h30 | Colégio Almada Negreiros, Sala 219
Conferência «The Production of the Present: Experience from a Discriminated Community in India» por Nihal Perera (Ball State University, USA)

My research focus has moved from understanding why people build the way they do in general to how ordinary people with no official power negotiate/create room for their everyday activities and cultural practices.  This intellectual journey supported and was supported by the CapAsia program that enables American students to go beyond relying on external observations, imposing Western biases and theories on local realities.  They are directed to understand Asian communities mainly by acknowledging local agency and learning from ordinary people’s own interpretations of the society and space they live in and produce.

 As highlighted by Perera and Tang (2013), the discourses on Asian urbanism heavily focus on the central business district, the slum, and the tradition thus fetishizing Asian cities as the West’s Other.  Displacing this Orientalist approach, this talk explores Chharanagar, a small settlement inhabited by a heavily discriminated community on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, especially the way the inhabitants have constructed the neighborhood and identity –historically and globally-- from a lens empathic to its inhabitants.  It will begin by sketching their past (history/genealogy), especially the criminalization of the Chharas by the British, turning them into a people without a history known to them Henry Schwarz (1995), and conclude with how this local understanding speaks to us: the formal discourses.

Nihal Perera, PhD, is Professor of Urban Planning at Ball State University (USA) and the founder and director of CapAsia, the object of the immersive semester in Asia is to “learn from” a particular community by doing projects in it with host country peers.  The two-time Fulbright Scholar (China and Myanmar) was also Senior Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore and a Fellow at KMITL, Thailand and University of Alberts, Canada.  He has taught in Germany, Hong Kong, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Rome, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and the USA, and researched in Asia in general. His has received three Fulbright-Hays awards and a Graham Foundation award.  His research focuses on lived spaces, i.e., how ordinary people produce spaces for daily activities and cultural practices, so, indigenizing and feminizing cities.  A primary contributor to the field of “postcolonial urban studies,” his publications include Transforming Asian Cities and People’s Spaces and articles on indigenizing and feminizing the city, and spaces of survival in hard places such as war zones and spaces of living in highly formalized places such as world heritage sites.

Os Encontros sobre Arte e Império são um espaço de discussão onde se reúnem investigadores vindos de Portugal e do estrangeiro que trabalham sobre, ou se interessam por, temas relacionados com a produção artística que de alguma maneira se relaciona com a história dos impérios europeus.

Apoio: Projecto TechNetEMPIRE «Redes técnico-científicas na formação do ambiente construído no Império português (1647-1871)» e do projecto «Circa 1892: Public Works Departments and the everyday building of the Portuguese empire» de Alice Santiago Faria.


Cartaz | Poster(.pdf)

Encontros sobre Arte e Império(Web)