Conference Report: “Accessing Water in the South Asian City”
On h-soz-kult, you can read the conference report of the KFG’s most recent conference on water in the South Asian city. the conference was organized by Sara Keller and the report written by Klara-Maeve O’Reilly. She writes:
The interdisciplinary workshop “Accessing Water in the South Asian City” was organised by Sara Keller from the Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies “Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations” (funded by the German Research Foundation, FOR 2779) as a hybrid event in Erfurt’s Augustinerkloster. The workshop approached South Asian urbanity via a discussion of how water has been organised discursively, materially, and symbolically in (pre-)modern Indian cities. Water has carried an essential religious dimension as a purifiactory element ever since the heterogeneous social and spatiotemporal formations commonly referred to as Hinduism and Buddhism emerged in South Asia. Studying water as a religious boundary marker of cleanness-pollution, sacredness-profanity, but also of social constellations, can provide insights into how the manifold socio-religious dynamics of Indian urban society have played themselves out over time. The workshop phrased out a series of intimately connected questions: how did the religious imaginaries and practices around water shape the materiality of pre-modern Indian cities? How did natural and material conditions like rainfall, seasons, and groundwater shape religious practices, texts and beliefs of water and its socio-religious administering? How can the influence of aspects linked to the urbanity of Indian cities – like density, diversity, differentiated lifestyles, spatial patterns of use, discourses on the city, and the breakdown all of these during war or social conflict – be best characterised?
Read the full report here.