Arijit H. Sen
Department of Architecture
nd-of-Year Fellowship Report for 2007-08

During the fellowship I worked towards producing publications from my research on the history of South Asian cultural landscapes in the United States. This research explores the social construction of immigrant landscapes, specifically how past knowing is enacted and reproduced in the built environment. I concentrated on writing about a Hindu temple in San Francisco. The architecture of the building was part of a racially-inflected argument, already popular among German Orientalist scholars who argued that Hindus were autochthonous descendents of a branch of the Aryan race. By adapting this problematic construction of the past, the Society members in America sought to legitimize their presence in an Anglo and Christian society. 

I revised and edited one chapter for my book manuscript titled “Mobile Bodies, Transgressing Selves.” I wrote and submitted two conference papers and one book chapter. I submitted twelve grant proposals and received four grants to continue working on the book manuscript during 2008-09. I will be working with the University of Minnesota Press editors during fall 2008 to edit my manuscript.

During my tenure at the Center, I began two new research projects on immigrant cultural landscapes (Devon Avenue in Chicago, the Lower East Side in New York) and successfully proposed a book project to the Vernacular Architecture Forum for their series, Perspectives on Vernacular Architecture. This book examines the South Asian retail landscape on Chicago’s Devon Avenue.

As part of my ongoing engagement with collaborative teaching and curricular planning, I also organized a symposium to inaugurate a new doctoral initiative between UWM and Madison called Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures. The symposium, funded by the Chipstone Foundation, included nine leading international scholars in the field.

Conference Presentations
“Redrawing a Nation from Outside: Visual Culture and Peoplehood,” American Studies Association Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA, October 2007.

“Global Culture in Local Economies: Role of Regional and Local Economies in the Growth of Fast Food Restaurants,” in panel titled “Localization: Particularity in the Face of Globalization.” 2008 Annual ACSA Conference, Houston, March 26-31, 2008.

Invited Lectures
“Imagining Home(land) in Diaspora: Geographic imaginations and production of place among South Asian Immigrants in the United States” “World Making: Art and Politics in Global Media” conference, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, April, 2008.

Center Fellow Presentation, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, October 2007.

Supported Travel
Ambassador’s Fellowship, Annual Vernacular Architecture Forum conference, Fresno, CA, May 7th-10th, 2008.

Articles Submitted and Accepted
“Global Cultures in Local Economies: Case Study of Ethnic Fast Food Restaurants,” in Proceedings of the 96th ACSA Annual Conference, Houston, TX, March 27-30, 2008.
 “Can We Move Beyond the Body-counts? Architecture Studio and the Pedagogy of Diversity,” In Calibrations: The Wisconsin Journal of Studio Architecture, Milwaukee, WI: School of Architecture and Planning, 2008 (forthcoming).

Book Review for Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town, Rogers Brubaker, Margit Feischmidt, Jon Fox, and Liana Grancea, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006. In Material Culture. (Accepted, forthcoming, 2009).

Book Review for Architecture as Signs and Systems for a Mannerist Time, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004. In Material Culture 40 (Fall 2008)

Other Manuscripts
Mobile Bodies, Transgressing Selves: Politics of Place and South Asian Identity, 1900-2000. Book manuscript chapters 2 and 4.

“World Making: Peoplehood and the Construction of the Indian Nation in Diaspora,” book chapter submitted (and under consideration) for the conference volume for the New Directions in International Studies, Patrice Petro (editor) from the Rutgers University Press series.

Current department website



Center for 21st Century Studies

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  Last updated 11/12/08 by DSC