Talk • For Whom is the City a Border based on Making the Modern Slum: The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay

March 30, 2022 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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For over a century, distinctions of dwelling types, categories of laborers, and delineations of economic activity have been used to codify and recodify the political standing of space, in particular what is considered “urban.” This talk, based on the book, Making the Modern Slum, uses the example of Bombay/Mumbai to illustrate how official and unofficial categorizations have served the interests of certain institutions and groups. Supposed “crises of urbanism” are part of a much larger context of racial capitalism across the cities of the world.


About the Speaker:

Sheetal Chhabria (Ph.D. Columbia University) is a historian of South Asia whose research and teaching focus on the production of poverty and inequality. Her research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and the American Historical Association. Her first book, Making the Modern Slum: the Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay (University of Washington, 2019), won the American Historical Association’s 2020 John F. Richards Prize for South Asian History. The book shows how the wellbeing of the city–rather than of its people–became an increasingly urgent goal of government, positioning agrarian distress, famished migrants, and the laboring poor as threats to be contained or excluded. Other publications have analyzed the politics of colonial knowledge and the production of the economy as social scientific fact. Her current research is focused on the imbrications of caste and capital in the subcontinent’s long history and the failures of decolonization. As well as academic articles sampled below, she has written for The Nation, Jacobin, and The India Forum amongst others.


March 30, 2022
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Event Category:




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