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Claiming the City: Protest, Crime and Scandals in Colonial Calcutta, c. 1860-1920

Anindita Ghosh

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ISBN 10: 0199464790 / ISBN 13: 9780199464791
Editore: OUP, 2016
Nuovi Condizione: New Rilegato
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Contents: Introduction. 1. Urban space, technology and community. 2. Songs the city and the everyday. 3. Sexuality, scandals and the urban order. 4. Battle for the streets: contesting municipal regimes. 5. Criminality, class and moral anxieties. 6. Collective protest and riots. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index. Departing from approaches that see the city as the unproblematic product of British initiative and disciplining, Claiming the City presents the urban processes shaping Calcutta as contested and partially indigenous. In a crucial intervention the work studies how the colonial urban was not just born out of the ordered institutional spaces inscribed by public parks and squares, sewers and water supplies, roads and tramways, but also the more plebeian imprint of their circumvention by the citys inhabitants - through their use of this civic infrastructure, violence, protest and street demonstrations. In the process the book also traces the ways in which the once proverbial City of Palaces turned by the early twentieth century into a city of endemic unrest and political strife. Ghosh breaks new ground by exploring the history of colonial urbanization from below through a wide range of sources, from street songs and photographs to local histories and memoirs, in addition to the more well-known official archives. In bringing together for the first time both known and unknown histories of the city in imaginative ways, the book weaves a vibrant narrative of everyday life in colonial Calcutta. Scandal, rumour, murder and music help locate energetic lower layers of public sphere in the city that were deeply invested in the urban. By highlighting the tensions of living in a rapidly changing world of technological innovations, social and moral dilemmas, municipal strictures and grinding poverty, the book establishes Calcutta’s residents not as passive consumers but rightful claimants to the city. Codice inventario libreria 117453

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Dati bibliografici

Titolo: Claiming the City: Protest, Crime and ...

Casa editrice: OUP

Data di pubblicazione: 2016

Legatura: Hardcover

Condizione libro:New

Edizione: 1st Edition

Descrizione articolo


As the administrative and commercial capital of British India and as one of the earliest experiments in modern urbanization in the sub-continent, Calcutta proved enormously challenging to both its residents and its architects. In this imaginative study of colonial Calcutta, Anindita Ghosh charts the history of its urbanization from below- in its streets, strikes, and popular urban cultures.

Claiming the City offers a close-up view of the citys underbelly by drawing in a range of non-archival sources- from illustrations and amateur photographs to street songs, local histories, and memoirs - which show that Calcutta was not just a problem to be disciplined and governed, as the colonialists would have us believe. Instead, the city emerges as a lively and crucial site for the shaping of the discourse on claims to urban spaces and resources by various marginal groups. Ghosh uses the everyday as a prism for exposing the wide spectrum of political and social imaginaries that shaped the city and shows how the once proverbial City of Palaces slowly turned into a city of endemic unrest and strife.


Anindita Ghosh is Senior Lecturer in Modern Indian History at the School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures, University of Manchester, UK. She was ENRECA Fellow at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata, India, and Simon Fellow at the Department of History, University of Manchester, UK.

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