University of Connecticut

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Geography Colloquium - Asher Ghertner

Friday, February 15, 2019
12:20pm – 1:15pm

Storrs Campus
AUST 445

Postcolonial Atmospheres: How Delhi's Air Pollution Crisis is Shaped by Colonialism.

Asher Ghertner Department of Geography Rutgers University

This presentation examines how popular and governmental responses to extreme air pollution levels in Delhi-which the WHO declared the most air-polluted city in the world in 2014-draw from spatial logics, aesthetic orientations, and scientific protocols with roots in colonial rule. Using three case atmospheres-the Indian lung, the hill station, and the air-purified home-it argues that a geographical imaginary institutionalized in colonial urban planning has led spatial practices of sequestration to supersede post-colonial investment in pollution abatement. By focusing on the infrastructures through which urban air pollution is rendered a tropical norm, it argues that until the colonial ontology of sequestration is broken down, investment in prosthetic technologies of seclusion will detract from structural efforts to produce air otherwise. It concludes with reflections on how we might conceptualize a postcolonial Anthropocene.

Contact:

Scott Stephenson [stephenson@uconn.edu]

Geography Department (primary), Asian American Studies Institute, History Department, Political Science, UConn Master Calendar, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies

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