CAHMS Talk on 'Facades and False Narratives: The History and Archaeology of Velha Goa During Colonial Rule' | Shiv Nadar University
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CAHMS Talk on 'Facades and False Narratives: The History and Archaeology of Velha Goa During Colonial Rule'

Center for Archaeology, Heritage and Museums Studies
Event Date: 
Thursday, March 25, 2021 -

The Center for Archaeology, Heritage and Museums Studies, Shiv Nadar University, invites you to a talk titled ‘Facades and False Narratives: The History and Archaeology of Velha Goa During Colonial Rule’ by Dr. Brian C. Wilson, Historical Anthropologist and Archaeologist; Ph.D., University of Chicago. The talk will be held on March 25 at 7:30 PM.

About the Talk
Rich archival sources provide meta-narratives of the ‘rise and fall’ of colonial outposts and their spatial projects. This talk revisits these histories through the results of an archaeological project conducted at the former capital of the Portuguese Eastern Empire, Velha Goa. In settings such as Goa, histories of the city are unavoidably structured by elite, top-down understandings of social processes, principally owing to the limits of the colonial archives themselves. Quotidian material transformations, essential to urban process, remain largely unconsidered. In Goa, the archaeological data suggest the dominant historical narratives that characterize this capital of empire as the ‘Rome of the East’ work to substantiate a vision of the city that erases other socialities. A discussion of the theoretical and methodological approaches to this research argue that incorporating both the archival and the material is critical to penetrating the facades and false narratives that can develop by relying on either source alone. In Goa, historical tropes of ruination mask rich and varied archaeological evidence of enduring forms of urbanism. The material legacies of nonelite social actors engender new understandings of what urbanism is and question narratives of urban decline that still resonate today. 

About the Speaker
Brian C. Wilson is an historical anthropologist and archaeologist with a Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. His work demonstrates how South Asian colonial urbanisms are inextricable from their constitutive human-environment interactions. His forthcoming book with Primus Books, In the Shadow of the Cathedral, presents a new analysis of the former capital of the Portuguese Eastern Empire, Velha Goa, through this approach by integrating perspectives from critical histories of colonialism, urban anthropology and political ecology. It presents an analysis of the processes of abandonment and ruination associated with declining urban environments and the way these spaces come to be reimagined and repurposed by both elite and subaltern groups. He has held several academic and administrative positions at the University of Chicago and has been visiting faculty at Northeastern Illinois University. Recent publications include “Culture, Ethnicity and Trade at Early Historic Arikamedu, South India.” In, Cross-Cultural Networking in the Indian Ocean Realm, c. 100-1800, (2019) and “Towards an Historical Archaeology of South Asia.” Historical Archaeology (50)4: 7-21 (with Mark Hauser, 2016). He has participated in survey and excavation projects in India, Oman, and the American Midwest, South and South-west.



Thursday 25, Mar 2021
07:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Zoom Meeting

Zoom Meeting ID: 984 8923 0035
Passcode: 594267