The Industrial Ephemeral: The Labor of Constructing Urban India
We sincerely apologise, this lecture has been postponed. Please check back here for the new date.
Namita Vijay Dharia presents a cross-class ethnography of architects, planners, contractors, foremen, workers, and developers who grow India’s National Capital Region. She argues that viewing real estate and construction as an urban industry reveals the new capitalist logics of urban development politics. Dharia focuses on ephemeral conditions within the construction industry, where ephemeral atmospheres (created through the transformation of materials and circulations of people) are not epiphenomenal to industrial operations; rather, they enhance labor struggle, planning and financial systems, and operating strategies in construction.
The personal histories and experiences of India's workers in construction reveal the politics of labor and class hierarchies in development politics and challenge canonical ways of studying urbanism. Worker critiques of the industry forces us to visualize class-equitable professions that acknowledge the labor and creativity of all those who build. The talk is based on fifteen months of ethnographic research in NCR.
Namita Vijay Dharia is an associate professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is an architect and anthropologist who studies urban political economy and ecology in India. Her work combines ethnographic methodologies and anthropological theory with the scalar, spatial and material approaches of design disciplines. She works across the themes of materiality and aesthetic studies, political ecology, labor studies, and planning and development politics.
Dharia has practiced and taught architecture in India and the United States, worked as an architectural journalist, and collaborated on research projects in Delhi, Allahabad, and Detroit. She is the author of the Industrial Ephemeral: Labor and love in Indian Architecture and Construction. Her second book length project studies the politics of rest in environmental and labor relations in Mumbai, India, focusing on the significance of urban and planetary rest.