About the Seminar:
We live in cities whose borders have always been subject to expansion. What does such transformation of rural spaces mean for cities and vice-versa? This seminar revolves around the social history of villages around Delhi that were brought into the urban fray in the 1950s and 1960s. Designated as "urban villages," these spaces evolve along with the city but continue to exhibit the contradictions of being both "rural" and "urban." As these villages transform physically, their residents, an agrarian-pastoralist community (the Jats), also transform into dabblers in real estate post 1990s. Through this social history emerges a very different trajectory of accumulation—one that overlaps with the trajectory of the story of capital, but isn't entirely that—the trajectory of rent. The logic of rent allows for close control over urban property and allows for a vernacular form of accumulation led by a community. The social history of these villages is also a social history of rent, which operates differently and sometimes in opposition to the logic of capital.
About the Speaker:
Sushmita Pati is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at National Law School of India University, Bangalore. She studied at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University. Her research interests lie at the intersections of urban politics and political economy. She is the author of Properties of Rent: Capital, Community and Politics in Globalising Delhi (Cambridge University Press, 2022). Her writings have appeared across social science journals as well as popular media platforms.