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Cambridge City Seminars: Infrastructures of Memory: Rifah-e Aam Club, Lucknow: Politics and Poetics of Publicness

Dr. Raphael Susewind
When Oct 09, 2018
from 05:30 PM to 07:00 PM
Where Seminar Room, Department of Geography, Downing Site
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Public space comes under threat, is contested as much as shared, an arena for power and hegemony, leaving little hope for interaction across social divides. Yet while each reincarnation of our fragmented public sphere inscribes public space with distinct meaning, each necessarily builds on historical precedent, inadvertently expanding the scope of the term's original promise. Over time, this creates iconic infrastructure such as the Rifah-e Aam Club, the "Club for the public good" in Lucknow, India. From the initial stirrings of associational culture through key moments of the national movement
down to today's goonda raj, or rule of thugs, this unruly space hosted the most unlikely republic of letters. Enter the Habermasian salon of European enlightenment transplanted unto contemporary north India, reuniting what seems irredeemably fragmented and giving hope to urban futures.