The Well-Fed Subject: Modern Architecture in the Quantitative State, India (1943-1984)
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Khorakiwala, Ateya A.
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CitationKhorakiwala, Ateya A. 2017. The Well-Fed Subject: Modern Architecture in the Quantitative State, India (1943-1984). Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThe decades following the catastrophic political disaster that was the Bengal Famine of 1943 saw a radical industrialization of India's productive countryside and a veritable biopolitical revolution to augment food production that was orchestrated through large-scale, top-down architecture and infrastructure - "quantitative architectures" that facilitated an emerging monumental landscape. India approached decolonization with quantitative rigor, privileging infrastructure over monumental architectural expression. This turn towards development meant that architecture was caught between, on the one hand, its cultural project - that is, the attempt to synthesize modern and traditional identities - and, on the other, the desire for modernization - that is, the scientific management of peoples and natural resources. This research emphasizes the latter dimension, exploring the aesthetic ideologies that emerged as a result of the urbanization and infrastructural transformation of India's northwest - the Punjab-Delhi region. It examines how technocrats amassed and produced transnational and hybrid forms of expertise around architectural materials like concrete, steel, and infrastructural commodities like water, wheat, and fertilizer, in the drive to secure the Indian body from starvation. A central argument is that infrastructural and architectural projects, such as dams, warehouses, silos, markets, and universities mediated between a liberal-capitalist pursuit of growth and a bureaucratic model of redistribution. As a result, these projects instantiated a top-down biopolitics, by creating a bureaucracy of norms and standards with which to manage and distribute food rations, thus shaping the distributionist logic of the Third World city.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365508
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