The Institute for South Asia Studies and SACHI, the Society for Art and Cultural Heritage of India are proud to present a talk by Prof. Will Glover on the urban history of Lahore.
A few years ago I wrote an urban history of Lahore during the colonial period. The book analyzed the city through episodes of both construction and imaginationas a site of distinctive urban artifacts, on the one hand, and of distinctive urban attitudes, on the other. The book was a sustained argument, at one level, that cities like Lahore are crucial sites for understanding how modern urbanism developed as a global process, as opposed to something exclusive only to the West. My current work raises a question I left unchallenged in that book: what are the boundaries of Lahoreor any city, for that matterand where should urban stories begin and end?
It has been a truism among urban historians that cities exist in a context: that processes relevant to city life dont simply end at the municipal boundary. In India, both literally and metaphorically, the journey from the village to the city has formed a central focus of social scientific study and state policy recommendations; it is also a major motif in modern South Asian cinema and literature. While most of these motifs underscore deeply etched differences between rural and urban patterns of life, my talk will raise the question of what happens if we let these distinctions blur? What is lost, and what is gained, if we see the countryside as integral to urban life and processes?
Professor Will Glover teaches modern South Asian history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research interests include South Asian colonial and post-colonial urban and cultural history, social theory, and the material culture of built environments. He is the author of Making Lahore Modern: Constructing and Imagining a Colonial City (University of Minnesota Press, 2008; winner of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies Junior Book Award), and of several articles exploring the imbrication of built environments, knowledge cultures, and urban processes in South Asia. Professor Glover is the former Director of the University of Michigan's Center for South Asian Studies (2007-09), and former Associate Director of the International Institute at the University of Michigan (2009-11). He currently serves as the Director of Graduate Studies in the department of History.