Partition Refugee Housing As Emergent Heritage

Author(s): Erin P Riggs

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Historical Archaeology in South Asia" , at the 2021 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Readings of material heritage are always entangled with understandings of who rightfully belongs. In India, colonial archaeology was used to legitimize subjugation in the past while nationalist archaeology today is used to justify the marginalization of minorities. The narratives surrounding modern day material patterns, while rarely the subject of archaeological consideration, are often similarly politicized. This paper considers how post-Partition homescapes in Delhi informed emergent understandings of nation and national belonging. Government-built refugee colonies, with their identical rows of modest housing, served as a symbol of the postcolonial state’s competency in modern development and Cold War era position of non-alignment. As families transformed these basic allotments into growing, thriving neighborhoods, they also reified refugees’ status as valued, industrious citizens. In contrast, the degradation of evacuee property neighborhoods caused by Partition in-migrations contributed to the re-narrativization of Delhi’s Indo-Islamic past as something abject and primitive.

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Partition Refugee Housing As Emergent Heritage. Erin P Riggs. 2021 ( tDAR id: 459287)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 68.144; min lat: 6.746 ; max long: 97.361; max lat: 35.501 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology