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The Social Production of Space and Emotions in South Asia

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Author:
Razak Khan Max Planck Institute for Human Development Berlin khan@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

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The introductory article to this theme issue on “The Social Production of Space and Emotions in South Asia” maps the existing historiography and makes a case for a wider history of emotions to elucidate the relationship between space and emotions. We examine the existing theoretical and conceptual models on the relations between space and emotions and illustrate how scholars need to bring together narratives, materiality, and practices in order to understand the entanglement of space and emotions. Through four different but connected historical examples: Mughal imperial Delhi, princely Rampur, small towns milieux in colonial India and the Lyari neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan, we trace the shifting configurations of power, emotions, and social space of “Muslim locales” in South Asia. On this particular terrain, we also want to specify the nature of change in emotional experiences as Muslim locales transformed from elite enclaves into locales of disempowerment in the transition to national independence. We examine the shifting discourses and practices in the built environment, in the landscapes portrayed in visual and literary reconstructions, and in the lived everyday spatial practices and experiences in South Asia. While providing a historical narrative, these articles also present new possibilities to explore affective archives and interdisciplinary approaches for writing a history of emotions.

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