Architectural History and Theory Seminar Series: Tania Sengupta

Schooling the Mufassal: Provincial Sites and Spatial Politics of Education in Colonial Eastern India

This event is hybrid and will take place in person and online.


Tania Sengupta, Associate Professor of Architectural History and Theory, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London

Speaker bio

Tania Sengupta is Associate Professor of Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Her research looks at histories and legacies of colonial built-environment in South Asia and global postcolonial contexts, and inequities stemming from these inheritances today. She is recipient of the RIBA President’s Medal for Research 2019, co-chief editor of the journal Architecture Beyond Europe, and co-curator of the curricular resource (2020) Race and Space: What is ‘Race’ Doing in a Nice Field Like the Built Environment?

Lecture abstract

British colonial educational interventions in India involved negotiations and contestations between colonial authorities and Indian subjects, as well as between different segments of Indian society itself. These formed around varied educational ideals and practices, opening new societal fissures, permeating people’s lives but also creating new, hybrid paradigms. In this paper, I look at the cultures and politics of educational space – from urban geographies to architectural typologies - in colonial Bengal within a mufassal (provincial) or small-town milieu. While being sites for colonial experimentation involving surveys of extant vernacular education and their transformation into forms amenable for colonial use, provincial locations also saw local Indian actors actively fashioning educational space, which did not merely result from, but also produced, ‘the provincial urban’. I argue that it was negotiations, conflicts or entanglements ensuing from a society in flux, rather than hard-edged binary taxonomies, that forged provincial urban educational space as sites of modernity. 

Event details

13 Feb '24
5.15pm - 7.15pm
In-person and online, open to all
Tania Sengupta