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Living in the periphery: provinciality and domestic space in colonial Bengal

Sengupta, T; (2013) Living in the periphery: provinciality and domestic space in colonial Bengal. Journal of Architecture , 18 (6) pp. 905-943. 10.1080/13602365.2013.853683. Green open access

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Abstract

This article focuses in detail on the domestic architecture of Indian town-dwellers within the context of provincial urbanisation in British colonial Bengal in the nineteenth century. It maps out the complex development of house-forms in provincial towns particularly in relation to rural-urban mobility and new social relationships brought about by the establishment of colonial governmental infrastructure in interior areas of the Bengal Province. Positing these domestic forms to be as important as the much-studied 'bungalow' in terms of typological complexity as well as the range of social, political and economic processes that they represented, the article foregrounds them as being significant spatial models of colonial urban domesticity and modernity. It analyses the development of residential architecture in the light of the varied perceptions of provincial towns held by different constituencies among the urban population-such as European officers or Bengali rural immigrants-from a range of socio-economic classes. It argues that urban-rural mobility and the nature of changing but continuing connections between rural and urban locations created an incrementally growing provincial urban domestic architecture characterised by malleable notions of work, home and leisure spaces. This produced a typological flexibility and specific articulations of public and private domains within residential premises.The chief purpose of the paper is threefold: first, to make a case for Indian agency in the co-production of colonial architecture and urbanism; second, to argue the role of provincial spatial cultures and house forms as key bearers of colonial modernity; third, to explore colonial architectural history through on-ground mapping of everyday domestic spaces of individual families and varied social groups. © 2013 © 2013 The Journal of Architecture.

Type: Article
Title: Living in the periphery: provinciality and domestic space in colonial Bengal
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13602365.2013.853683
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13602365.2013.853683
Additional information: © 2013 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1360172
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