The Politics of Heritage from Madras to Chennai

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Indiana University Press, Oct 29, 2008 - History - 296 pages

In this anthropological history, Mary E. Hancock examines the politics of public memory in the southern Indian city of Chennai. Once a colonial port, Chennai is now poised to become a center for India's "new economy" of information technology, export processing, and back-office services. State and local governments promote tourism and a heritage-conscious cityscape to make Chennai a recognizable "brand" among investment and travel destinations. Using a range of textual, visual, architectural, and ethnographic sources, Hancock grapples with the question of how people in Chennai remember and represent their past, considering the political and economic contexts and implications of those memory practices. Working from specific sites, including a historic district created around an ancient Hindu temple, a living history museum, neo-traditional and vernacular architecture, and political memorials, Hancock examines the spatialization of memory under the conditions of neoliberalism.

 

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Contents

Making the Past in a Global Present Chennais New Heritage
1
The Formal City and Its Pasts
17
Governing the Past Chennais Histories
19
Memory Mourning and Politics
56
Modernity Remembered Temples Publicity and Heritage
82
Restructured Memories
119
Consuming the Past Tourisms Cultural Economies
121
Recollecting the Rural in Suburban Chennai
147
The Village as Vernacular Cosmopolis
179
Conclusion How Many Museums Can One Have?
204
Notes
213
Bibliography
257
Index
271
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About the author (2008)

Mary E. Hancock is Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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