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Title: An interdisciplinary approach to Santal architectural history
Author: Bharat, Gauri
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 0965
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2015
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Santals are one of the many Adivasi (indigenous) communities in eastern India and are particularly renowned for precision and craftsmanship in their domestic architecture. The visually stunning dwellings and settlements fascinated me as an undergraduate architecture student, and now, in this doctoral research project, I take this forward as a critical enquiry into the production, use and transformation of Santal built environments. There are two important concerns in the study. First, I examine Santal dwellings and settlements as both sites and processes, i.e., I analyse built forms, everyday life, domestic art practices, and people’s perceptions of important aspects of their surroundings in order to understand Santal senses of space and place. Second, I attempt to correlate architectural shifts to wider changes in the Santal and other Adivasi communities and the Singhbhum region in order that the architectural analysis may be brought to bear upon a wider understanding of Adivasi pasts. In short, using architecture as a lens, I aim to understand Santal senses of being-in-the-world and how these have transformed in the course of the past two centuries. This study is an important departure from architectural discourses on traditional environments since it examines processes of making and people’s experiences together with architectural forms. This approach allows a new kind of architectural history to emerge: one that is no longer about buildings alone, but that offers insights into peoples’ sense of their collective lives, and in particular their phenomenological engagements with the social, environmental and historical worlds that are in part defined by architecture. The project is inherently interdisciplinary in that architectural analysis is combined with ethnography and participatory visual methods in the effort to study senses of place. More significantly, however, I aim to contribute to critical discourses on traditional built environments and their historiography.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available