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In pre-modern South Asia, as diverse architectural knowledges encountered each other, what sort of sacred space became possible? What were the conditions of the encounter and how was the encounter understood and integrated? How did patrons, religious authorities, builders and worshippers engage with new information in the way they thought about designing their sacred spaces once this new knowledge became part of a repertoire of building? How do historians have to write the histories of such architectural encounters in sacred space? These and other questions are the topic of this conversation between four architectural historians working respectively in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Bengal and the Deccan and Tamil Country.
In collaboration with Art, Resources & Teaching (ART) Trust
Art, Resources & Teaching (ART) Trust is a research center and library located in Bangalore, India. It is dedicated to the built and visual arts and their histories. ART collaborates with private organizations, universities, government institutions, and individuals in creating educational and research programs, methodologies and resources.
Dr. Alka Patel is Professor in the Department of Art History and in the PhD Program for Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Her research has focused on South Asia and its connections with Iran and Central Asia, including overland and Indian Ocean maritime networks.
Her works include Building Communities in Gujarat: Architecture and Society during the Twelfth-Fourteenth Centuries (Brill 2004), and Communities and Commodities: Western India and the Indian Ocean, for which she was guest editor of a special issue of Ars Orientalis XXXIV (2004). Patel also guest-edited Archives of Asian Art LIX (2007), a special issue on reuse in South Asian visual culture. Her interests have expanded to include mercantile networks and architectural patronage in 18th-19th-century South Asia, as in Indo-Muslim Cultures in Transition (co-ed. K. Leonard, Brill 2012). Her recent volume, India and Iran in the Longue Durée (Brill/Jordan Center for Persian Studies, 2017), co-edited with ancient Iranist Touraj Daryaee, resulted from an international conference convening a wide array of specialists analyzing Indo-Iranian connections over two millennia. Her current monographic project on the Ghurids of Afghanistan and northern India comprises two volumes, the first of which is titled Iran to India: The Shansabanis of Afghanistan, c. 1145-1190 CE, and was published in late 2021 with Edinburgh University Press.
Hakim Sameer Hamdani
Dr. Hakim Sameer Hamdani is former Design Director, INTACH Kashmir, whose primary area of research is in the field of Islamic religious Architecture of South Asia. He has widely written on the Muslim material culture of Kashmir. His major conservation projects are the Reconstruction of 18th century wooden Shrine of Pīr Dastgīr Ṣahib (2020–12) and Conservation of 15th century, ʿAāli Masjid at Eidgah, Srinagar (2007)— both of which were longlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. His book based on his doctoral research, The Syncretic Traditions of Islamic Religious Architecture of Kashmir (Early 14th – 18th Century) was published by Routledge in March 2021. His forthcoming book Shi’ism in Kashmir: A history of Sunni -Shia rivalry and reconciliation, is being published by I B Tauris. He is also co-editing a book on Mughal Gardens of Kashmir for INTACH, Kashmir. He is presently pursuing his Post-Doctoral fellowship in Islamic Architecture (2021-22) at MIT.
Dr. Pika Ghosh is Visiting Professor at Haverford College. Her research interest is on art and religion. Her major publications include the co-authored Cooking for the Gods: The Art of Home Ritual in Bengal (Newark Museum, 1995), the award-winning Temple to Love: Architecture and Devotion in Seventeenth-Century Bengal (Indiana University Press, 2005), and Making Kantha, Making Home: Women at Work in Colonial Bengal (University of Washington Press, 2020).
Dr. Annapurna Garimella is an art historian and a designer. Her research focuses on late medieval Indic architecture and the history and practices of vernacular visual and built cultures in India after Independence. Garimella is the Managing Trustee of Art, Resources and Teaching Trust, a research library dedicated to art, architecture, design and craft histories, independent research projects, teaching. She also heads Jackfruit Research and Design, an organization with a specialized portfolio of design, research and curation. Jackfruit’s recent curatorial projects include Vernacular, in the Contemporary (Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi 2010-11) and Mutable: Ceramic and Clay Art in India Since 1947 (Piramal Museum of Art, 2017) and Barefoot School of Craft in Goa (Serendipity Arts Festival, 2017-18). Her newest book is the co-edited Marg volume titled The Contemporary Hindu Temple: Fragments for a History (2019). Digesting the Past: The Discourse of Sacralized Architectural Renovation in Southern India (14th-17th Centuries) is her book manuscript under preparation.