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Empire and ecology in the Bengal delta: the making of Calcutta

By: Bhattacharya, Debjani.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New Delhi Cambridge University Press 2019Description: xvi, 241 p. Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN: 9781108706858.Subject(s): India - Calcutta - Colonialism | Ecology | Asia - Ganges River Delta | Climatic changesDDC classification: 954.14703 Summary: What happens when a distant colonial power tries to tame an unfamiliar terrain in the world's largest tidal delta? This history of dramatic ecological changes in the Bengal Delta from 1760 to 1920 involves land, water and humans, tracing the stories and struggles that link them together. Pushing beyond narratives of environmental decline, Bhattacharyya argues that 'property-thinking', a governing tool critical in making land and water discrete categories of bureaucratic and legal management, was at the heart of colonial urbanization and the technologies behind the draining of Calcutta. The story of ecological change is narrated alongside emergent practices of land speculation and transformation in colonial law. Bhattacharyya demonstrates how this history continues to shape our built environments with devastating consequences, as shown in the Bay of Bengal's receding coastline. The first environmental history of land markets in South Asia. Explores how the law responded to the ecological changes of the Bengal delta and how those laws continue to shape our contemporary relationship to the land and the water. Shows landscapes as essentially fluid and changeable, destabilizing the fixities of cartography. https://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/history/environmental-history/empire-and-ecology-bengal-delta-making-calcutta?format=PB
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Slot 2444 (3 Floor, East Wing) Non-fiction 954.14703 B4E6 (Browse shelf) Checked out 01/02/2020 200170

Table of Contents
Introduction. Almanac of a tidal basin
Part I. Environmental Consolidations:
1. Power and silt
2. Drying a delta
Part II. Legal Maneuvers:
3. Notarizing possessions
4. Commerce in land
Part III. Un-real Estate:
5. Speculative properties
Conclusion: disappearing coastlines.

What happens when a distant colonial power tries to tame an unfamiliar terrain in the world's largest tidal delta? This history of dramatic ecological changes in the Bengal Delta from 1760 to 1920 involves land, water and humans, tracing the stories and struggles that link them together. Pushing beyond narratives of environmental decline, Bhattacharyya argues that 'property-thinking', a governing tool critical in making land and water discrete categories of bureaucratic and legal management, was at the heart of colonial urbanization and the technologies behind the draining of Calcutta. The story of ecological change is narrated alongside emergent practices of land speculation and transformation in colonial law. Bhattacharyya demonstrates how this history continues to shape our built environments with devastating consequences, as shown in the Bay of Bengal's receding coastline.

The first environmental history of land markets in South Asia.

Explores how the law responded to the ecological changes of the Bengal delta and how those laws continue to shape our contemporary relationship to the land and the water.

Shows landscapes as essentially fluid and changeable, destabilizing the fixities of cartography.

https://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/history/environmental-history/empire-and-ecology-bengal-delta-making-calcutta?format=PB

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