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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Women, Travel & the Colonial Imaginary at Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures

Mughal garden    

Shangri La's Mughal Garden: Women, Travel and the Colonial Imaginary
by Aditi Chandra

Saturday August 3, 2013
2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

2:30 - 3:00 p.m. Open House
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Lecture
4:00 - 4:30 p.m. Refreshments

Shangri La, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art
4055 Papu Circle
Honolulu, HI. 96816

Seating is very limited and reservations are required.

Please note there is no parking at Shangri La or in the surrounding neighborhood. Access to Shangri La is by van only.
Van service to Shangri La will begin at 2:15 p.m. from the Kapiolani Community College, parking lot B, 4303 Diamond Head Road.

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As die-hard antiquarians, eager tourists and avid aficionados of picturesque landscapes, the British may well have experienced colonialism in India as a great travel adventure. Tourist space, it has been suggested, is intimately linked to colonial space; and tourism much like colonialism is strongly influenced by a desire to experience Otherness. While remaining fascinated by local landscapes such as the Mughal charbargh, colonial authorities also had a penchant for creating English-style gardens around historic sites.

European women, who were frequent documenters of colonial travel adventures in the subcontinent, revealed their love of Mughal and English gardens and oftentimes showed that, for them, these landscapes became spaces of solitude, frivolity and transgression in order to escape Victorian patriarchy. Despite their status as traveling connoisseurs and scholars, women, it was claimed by the male-dominated scholarly world of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, could only engage with gardens through their link with the domestic. Through an analysis of Shangri La's Mughal Garden and Lahore's 17th century Shalamar Bagh, Doris Duke's travel ephemera, European women's travelogues and British attempts at creating picturesque landscapes in the subcontinent, Chandra explores the link between colonialism, travel and landscape design and questions the silence on women's contribution towards garden history.

Aditi Chandra (Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 2011) is Assistant Professor of Islamic and South Asian Art at the School of Social Science and Humanities at the University of California, Merced. Her research examines how colonial archaeological and travel-related processes transformed Delhi's Sultanate and Mughal architecture into modern monuments for touristic consumption in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most recently, her essay "Potential of the 'Un-exchangeable Monument': Delhi's Purana Qila, in the time of Partition, c. 1947-1963" was published in the International Journal of Islamic Architecture.

About Us
The mission of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art is to promote the study and understanding of Islamic arts and cultures.

DDFIA pursues its mission in two ways:
  • Through Shangri La in PH and DH viewHonolulu, which is owned and supported by DDFIA and undertakes a range of activities as a center for learning about Islamic arts and cultures; and
  • Through the Building Bridges Program, which is based in New York and awards grants to promote the use of arts and media to improve
    Americans' understanding of Muslim societies.
Based in New York, DDFIA is one of three operating foundations supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

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