"Colonial Sovereignty and the making of an affective Landscape", Swati Chattopadhyay, (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Hörsaal 114, Kollegienhaus, Petersplatz 1

British colonial rulers in India cobbled together an idiom of sovereignty that significantly departed from the model operative in Britain. In Hobbesian terms, colonial sovereignty in India was a sovereignty by acquisition, rather than by institution. Such sovereignty by acquisition came with specific problems of territory, place, and belonging, given the realities of a non-settler colony. This presentation focuses on some key moments in the long career of colonial rule when state sovereignty was challenged, and in response its territorial imperatives reworked. The infrastructure of governance, representations of war landscape, and popular protest help track the revisions in the vocabulary of sovereignty that enabled new ways of seeing the land, and the modes through which the colonial state’s views were normalized, appropriated, and resisted, as a series of landscape affects.

Swati Chattopadhyay is professor in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She specializes in modern architecture and urbanism, and the cultural landscape of British colonialism. She is interested in the ties between colonialism and modernism, and in the spatial aspects of race, gender, and ethnicity in modern cities that are capable of enriching post-colonial and critical theory.