A Place for Utopia: Urban Designs from South Asia

Hardcover | October 16, 2015

bySmriti Srinivas

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Exploring several utopian imaginaries and practices, A Place for Utopia ties different times together from the early twentieth century to the present, the biographical and the anthropological, the cultural and the conjunctional, South Asia, Europe, and North America. It charts the valency of "utopia" for understanding designs for alternative, occluded, vernacular, or emergent urbanisms in the last hundred years. Central to the designs for utopia in this book are the themes of gardens, children, spiritual topographies, death, and hope.

From the vitalist urban plans of the Scottish polymath Patrick Geddes in India to the Theosophical Society in Madras and the ways in which it provided a context for a novel South Indian garden design; from the visual, textual, and ritual designs of Californian Vedanta from the 1930s to the present; to the spatial transformations associated with post-1990s highways and rapid transit systems in Bangalore that are shaping an emerging "Indian New Age" of religious and somatic self-styling, Srinivas tells the story of contrapuntal histories, the contiguity of lives, and resonances between utopian worlds that are generative of designs for cultural alternatives and futures. 

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Exploring several utopian imaginaries and practices, A Place for Utopia ties different times together from the early twentieth century to the present, the biographical and the anthropological, the cultural and the conjunctional, South Asia, Europe, and North America. It charts the valency of "utopia" for understanding designs for alte...

Smriti Srinivas is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Landscapes of Urban Memory: The Sacred and the Civic in India’s High-Tech City; In the Presence of Sai Baba: Body, City, and Memory in a Global Religious Movement; and The Mouths of People, The Voice of God: Buddhists and Muslims...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:October 16, 2015Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295994983

ISBN - 13:9780295994987

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A work of deep and prescient intellectual insight, Srinivas focuses on the question of how utopias are produced and experienced in practice and the imagination. She artfully weaves together a set of fascinating questions about the place of the future in the present, challenging us to think critically about how the body, urban environments, and religious experience are at once grounded in the reality of everyday life and how they transform this reality by anticipating the possibility of transcendence. - Joseph Alter, Yale-NUS College