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Title:Cultivating imperial identity: the garden city and urban landscapes in London, Calcutta and Delhi, c. 1860-1931
Author(s):Rodriguez'G, Karen Ann
Director of Research:Burton, Antoinette M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Burton, Antoinette M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ballantyne, Tony J.; Rabin, Dana; Mehta, Rini B
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):imperial identity
British empire
garden city
horticultural spatiality
New Delhi
empire and place-making
Abstract:My dissertation considers how the cultivation of the garden was tied into the development of the colonial modern in the 19th century and early 20th century, setting in place value systems rooted in the link between horticultural space and urbanity itself in both metropole and colony. By considering the garden as imperial place-maker, I analyze how the garden was transmitted across multiple geographies and scales, foregrounding it as a modern site not just of aesthetic appeal but of disciplinary power. It was at once a mechanism for sifting out the difference between imperial subject and citizen and a space of collective identity in an often turbulent imperial context. The urban morphologies of London, Calcutta and New Delhi – the British imperial capitols studied here – reflect the fractured nature of local, national and imperial debates about open space, the place of the living and the dead, and questions of imperial and even global identity. As a civilizing paradigm, the urban garden landscape both in England and in India solved crises of material and social ills brought on by rapid urbanization, neutralized class consciousness and integrated the working classes and natives into the national/imperial landscape, and regulated both errant English and Indian bodies. This ‘greening’ of the urban landscape was linked to a specific form of imperial modernity, a material and discursive representation of social progress on an extra-national scale. By the second decade of the 20th century, my project shows how the garden had come to be identified as a space to not only cultivate the land but produce a civic and imperial identity at multiple scales and across shifting geographies. This work is based on a wide range of British and Indian government reports, newspapers, periodicals, journals, travelogues and other accounts, archival work done in the India Office Records held at the British Library, the manuscript collections of Lord Hardinge (microfilm) and Lord Curzon at the British Library, the letters of Edwin Lutyens to his wife, Emily, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the collections of the Royal Botanical Gardens held at Kew, and the archives of the Metropolitan Board of Works, the London County Council, and the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association at the London Metropolitan Archives.
Issue Date:2015-04-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Karen Ann Rodriguez'G
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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