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Authors: Chatterjee, Sria
Advisors: DeLue, Rachael
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Art History
History of Science
Plant Science
Subjects: Art history
Environmental studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Naturing the Nation: art and design in India, 1870s-1970s probes the relationship between art, design and the politics of nature in colonial and postcolonial India. It examines two art and design institutions - Rabindranath Tagore's Santiniketan-Sriniketan project (established in early 1900s British India) in Bengal, and the National Institute of Design funded by the Indian government and the United States-based Ford Foundation (established late 1950s, after independence in 1947) in Ahmedabad. Taking into account the transregional and transnational networks of ideas, agents, and institutions around them, it unpacks art and design’s deep relations to colonial and modern science and anthropology between colonial rule and the Cold War. A focus on the relationships between plant neurobiology, agricultural science, art and art theory, as well as exhibition-making allows the chapters to investigate the co-production of ‘nature’ and ‘nation’ as malleable constructs within art and design historical discourse. It reveals, for instance, how the entanglements of art and science were caught up in the articulation of a new Hindu metaphysics by a particular nationalist elite in early twentieth century Bengal. Through the work of artists and art theorists, it traces the crucial relationships of this Hindu metaphysics with the Pan-Asian movement and European vitalism. Through transnational and transregional networks of artists, writers and designers, it identifies a ‘Long Arts and Crafts Movement’ and the paradoxes and ramifications of it between Great Britain, India and the United States of America, investigating the functions of craft, design and rural reform between Victorian socialism of the late 1880s, Indian nationalisms, and American development-oriented aid programmes of the 1950s. Examining the emergence of design, and new ways of seeing, in the 1960s, it investigates how the representation of ‘nature’ and ‘nation’ were reconfigured through a nexus of art, politics, and technology, and the conflicting demands of ‘tradition’ and ‘progress’.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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