Approaching Past, Present, and Future Urbansims in Goa, India

Author(s): Brian Wilson

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Historical Archaeology in the Indian Ocean" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

What do we know of early modern colonial urbanisms in South Asia? Archival sources provide meta-narratives of the “rise and fall” of colonial outposts. This paper revisits these histories and the heritage management practices they engender.  

In Velha Goa, the former capital of the Portuguese eastern empire, the story of the city’s rise and subsequent ruination in the 17th century is the canonical narrative told by the elite-produced archive. Archaeological survey, however, provided traces that give evidence for a range of socialites and endurances, revealing differing temporalities and material experiences of the city. Unfortunately, these alternative voices are silenced today.

Heritage management practices in Goa erase non-elite socio-spatial production. I argue that the site’s UNESCO Heritage designation perpetuates the narratives so prevalent in the archive. Providing value to only one set of urban experiences, however, recreates colonial stereotypes that justified the exploitation of the socio-spatial landscape for colonial ends.

Cite this Record

Approaching Past, Present, and Future Urbansims in Goa, India. Brian Wilson. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457016)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Colonialism heritage Urbanism

Geographic Keywords
United States of America

Temporal Keywords
1510 - 2019

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 782