Anand Vivek Taneja to Discuss The Afterlife of Islamic Architecture: Ethics, Ecology, and Other Times in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi

Anand Vivek Taneja On Tuesday September 20th, the South Asia Center, in conjunction with Syracuse University’s Departments of Anthropology and Religion, will host Anand Vivek Taneja, Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, to discuss The Afterlife of Islamic Architecture: Ethics, Ecology, and Other Times in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi. The lecture will take place in 341 Eggers Hall at 12:30PM.

During his fieldwork, Taneja often heard stories of people’s dreams of white robed Muslim saints amongst Delhi’s medieval monuments. Visions of saints are conceptualized as coming from an Elsewhere, not from inside the unconscious but from outside the subject. But the persistent connection between these visions and medieval ruins indicates that they are also linked to elsewhen, times other than the contemporary moment. Ruins serve as thresholds of multiple temporality not just in dreams, but also in ritual and cinema. In each of these, ruins have ethical potential, the possibility of transformation for both individuals and communities.

Anand Vivek Taneja’s research and teaching interests include urban ecologies, enchantment and ethics, animality, historical and contemporary Islam and inter-faith relations in South Asia, post-colonial urbanism, Urdu literature, and Bombay cinema. His book manuscript, Jinnealogy: Time, Islam, and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi won the 2016 Joseph W. Elder Award in the Indian Social Sciences. He has also published popular essays on urban life, historical amnesia, and alternative forms of remembrance in The Book Review, Time Out Delhi, The Indian Quarterly, and on the websites Kafila.org and Chapati Mystery. He is currently beginning a project on religion, infrastructure, and shifting ontologies in urban North India.