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Lessons from the Delhi Metro with Rashmi Sadana

Apr 10, 2020

Train approaching Okhla station on the Violet Line of the Delhi Metro. Photo courtesy of Rashmi Sadana.


Dr. Rashmi Sadana is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University and one of this year’s Weatherhead fellows at SAR. Her project, Gender, Urban Space, and Everyday Life in the Age of the Delhi Metro, 2002–2018, asks how the metro affects the nearly three million people who use it and how women and men of different classes interact in its newly created spaces.

About 75 percent of the Delhi Metro is above ground; this uniqueness stimulated Sadana’s imagination. “When you’re riding the metro,” she says, “you’re seeing the city in a completely new way.” After observing Delhi from the trains and interviewing architects, urban planners, and fellow passengers, Sadana came to understand the metro as an example of “aspirational planning” that not only represents people’s ideas about “middle-class modernity,” but also translates those ideas into experiences. The metro’s blue line, for example, came to be associated with the students and middle-class families it served. Advertising promoted the metro as safer for women, and “ladies’ coaches” were set aside for their use. “People of all classes ride the metro,” says Sadana, and its effects on the neighborhoods it joins are not uncomplicated, but “for a lot of people who may not have access to other forms of global modernity and middle-class mobility, the metro is something that they can actually step into” every day.

By showing how a megaproject like the Delhi metro changes ordinary people’s lives and aspirations, Sadana’s work highlights the contradictions of middle-class modernity in India and around the world.


As part of a new initiative, we spoke with Dr. Sadana about her work in the first SAR in Conversation podcast.

Listen to the full interview and find highlighted excerpts below.

Women wait to board the “ladies’ coach” of the Delhi Metro, usually the first coach of each train. Photo courtesy of Rashmi Sadana.

“What happened in my research is that the ladies’ coach became this kind of laboratory for me – it became this very interesting space for me to study, in addition to the mixed or general coaches as they’re called, and to think about the forms of sociality that are particular to the ladies’ coach and also to think about how the general coaches changed, because of course the main thing in the general coaches is that they became more male. Not all women go in the ladies’ coach, but I would say about 75% do.”

Full Interview Transcript

Thomas: Welcome to SAR In Conversation, the podcast from the School for Advanced Research. My name is Thomas Grant Richardson, and I’m your host. I’m a trained folklorist here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Being a folklorist means I’m interested in art and culture, but perhaps even more so. I’m interested in the people that make art and decipher culture. Hopefully you are too, because that’s what you’re going to get here on in conversation with SAR. Before we begin, let me introduce you to my friend and cohost Meredith Schweitzer.

Meredith: Hi Thomas.

Thomas: Hi Meredith. This is their first one. It is exciting. Meredith, you are the public programs person at SAR, right?

Meredith: So I’m our director of public programs and I’m really excited about bringing a podcast to our existing community and kind of reaching out to some new communities, because I think something that we’re particularly good at SAR is having a really wonderful trajectory of scholars and artists who come through our programs. They don’t have as many opportunities as I’d like for them to share the exciting work that they’re doing while they’re here, or that they’ve done for our alumni in some cases that they did, you know, 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago that have now become pretty influential topics or books or other projects out in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, social sciences, and native American arts and culture. Who’s up first?

Thomas: Up first is Dr. Rashmi Sadana, who is a professor of sociology and anthropology at George Mason University. She has this incredible project that I think is exactly like what you were saying. She’s talking about the development of the new metro in Delhi, and Delhi’s a mega city. They’ve just built their first metro and everything that that implies to the citizens of Delhi in terms of social mobility, in terms of physical mobility, in terms of defining a city, in terms of gender. How does the train system and gender interact? Turns out in a bunch of ways. I wish that everyone got to sit down for two hours like I did with Rashmi. She’s amazing. I’m here talking with Dr. Rashmi Sadana. To start off, can you just tell me a little bit about your name and does it have any relevance in your family? Historically are there famous Rashmi’s?

Rashmi: That’s an interesting question. I think there are some, a couple of famous Indian movie actresses and bestselling pop novelists. Those are the famous Rashmi’s. I know it’s a Sanskrit word and it means the rays of the sun. So sometimes it’s referred to as light or the soft. When I was a kid, my parents would tell me it was like the soft and silky rays of the sun as it hits the morning dew or something. Very poetic. But most of my life I’ve just been having to correct people. The pronunciation, which is understandable because I’m out of that Indian context most of the time living here in the U S and growing up here and being American. So if that’s okay.

Thomas: So you got your PhD from UC Berkeley in cultural anthropology. You were a postdoc at Columbia University and now you are a professor in the, I believe, sociology and anthropology department at George Mason. One of the things that struck me interesting about this fit your dissertation, blended literary studies, English literature as a discipline with anthropology. Now you are in a department of sociology and anthropology and I see this new project very much doing a blending of those two and it seems like this project, um, which I should just say is titled Gender, Urban Space and Everyday Life in the Age of the Delhi Metro, which is 2002, when it opened, to 2018 which you have just put as your cutoff for the ethnographic research, right?

Rashmi: Yes. It’s the 2018 is also significant because it’s the end of the third construction phase of the system. So it was a natural cutoff point.

Thomas: As it was designed. The deli and Metro is now complete.

Rashmi: Well, there will be a phase four which they have funding for and they will start probably this year. Phase four will be kind of connecting certain lines. It won’t be as massive a transformation as the first three phases, but there will be a phase four,

Thomas: I think that in the US we have a little bit of a difficulty understanding mega cities. So I looked this up and in Delhi the greater urban area, which is officially designated as the central national capital region, is the third largest Metro area in the world with approximately, and I didn’t write down the number, but approximately 16 million people,

Rashmi: Between 16 and 20. I hear different figures.

Thomas: And that’s always the issue with these mega cities.

Rashmi: And defining where they end.

Thomas: So just for some context, number one is the Tokyo, Yokohama, number two is Jakarta, um, closer to home we don’t start to understand these until New York city, which ranks number eighth. Mexico city is ranked number 10 and Los Angeles comes in at 18. So the closest we get in the States is New York city at number eight. So I would, I’d ask you, for those of us including myself, who have not been fortunate enough to visit Delhi, can you just talk a little bit about what it is like to try to experience or comprehend a city on that grand of scale?

Rashmi: Sure.

Delhi unlike other mega cities like Bombay for instance, or Hong Kong. I mean when I go to Bombay, Mumbai, or Hong Kong, they are such vertical cities, right? And they have that classic feeling of density, where you are just on the street and there’s a ton of people, you’re in a high rise and you look below and you just see seas of housing and all kinds of things. So Delhi is, Delhi feels different, and of course each mega city is going to have its own geographic components and its own feel, weather, and all those different things. So Delhi is spread out. It’s not, at least the way I experienced it, it’s not that you’re just overwhelmed with lots of people, I mean, yes, it’s crowded in certain places and there are people and dwellings and all of that, but it’s also very spread out. I mean, you can go to places in Delhi and it’s very peaceful and quiet and most of the city, or I don’t know, I’m not a housing specialist, but let’s say half the city is residential areas. Even areas of low income housing or even informal settlements where you have lots of tiny, tiny dwellings all kind of bunched together. Delhi has some space so it doesn’t feel like the kind of vertical city even in the way New York does. And yet it is massive, and I think, I don’t know if I ever would have thought about writing about the city in a general way, like actually having a book title that had Delhi in the title if it weren’t for the Delhi Metro, because what the metro does, and I think this is true not only for me, but I think it’s true for a lot of people who live in the city, it gives the city a kind of shape and a grid and there’s a kind of mapping that goes on.

 

Of course there’s a negative side to this too. The Delhi Metro because it’s so expensive and has such deep capital interests in terms of property development and just the money that goes into building it, it’s also driving the urban plan of the city, and that can sometimes be good, but sometimes not be good because it’s often driving it in the interest of people who are already wealthy, such as property developers and owners. So there are those issues but the Metro also does give it, makes the city more knowable. I mean, I’ve been to so many parts of Delhi that I never would have gone to because of the Metro. One of the ways in which I feel I experienced Delhi as a mega city is when I’m just on the Metro and about 75% of the Metro is above ground. That’s also something that really spurred my imagination about this project because when you’re riding the Metro, you’re seeing the city in a completely new way because you’re above ground and you’re sitting in the train and you’re seeing all these parts of it. And so through the Metro, I’ve also understood what kind of mega city Delhi is in terms of how it’s spread out in terms of how certain areas of it can seem almost rural or almost a village like and other areas can seem very built up. So I think the variability of what a mega city is, I think that’s what strikes me most about Delhi.

Thomas: One of the things that I’ve found interesting that you’ve talked about is that the Metro has opened up the city, not only given it shape, but granted access and you’ve spoken about it in terms of of aspirational planning. So I was hoping you could further detail what you see as the aspirational planning and what that means in terms of the Metro.

Rashmi: So aspirational planning, this concept really came through my interviews that I did with architects and urban planners. And these were people who in different ways had been part of designing stations of the Metro, but also thinking about the whole of the system as well. And what I discovered in a lot of these interviews was how ideas of the city are really being thought about in terms of people’s experience of a certain kind of middle-class modernity and what that means.

So aspirational planning is kind of how class gets imbued in the idea of the Metro experience and what the Metro can allow you to do.

So for instance, the Delhi Metro lines are named by colors. So there’s blue line, red line, yellow line, etc. One of the things that blue line was known for at the beginning was that along the Metro corridors, all of these institutes for learning English or preparing for exams or these other kinds of aspirational activities that had to do with educational mobility, they all sprung up along this blue line. And the blue line happened to have a lot of students on it, but also it went into areas, Noida on one side and Dwarka on the other, which were newer areas of the city where a lot of middle-class people were able to afford housing because they could no longer afford it in the central areas. So the blue line started to be thought of as this kind of aspirational line because of these institutes. And what I found in talking with the architects and planners was that these ideas about social mobility were seeping into the Metro. So for instance, in the Metro advertising, they always talk about how you can go to these different malls or you can go to these different shopping areas of the city and how it’s gonna make your life easier. A different kind of example is that the Metro is safer for women compared to riding the bus, which is known for pickpockets and sexual harassment and that kind of thing. But it’s always the image they create is always of a middle class woman. So there’s this idea that the Metro is this engine for kind of a middle-class mobility. Now of course you see poor people and lower middle class people on the Metro all the time. But even for them, the Metro becomes aspirational. The Metro itself, this high tech shiny object that is globally recognized. You ride the Metro in London, in Hong Kong and New York and Paris and now in Delhi too. And so for a lot of people who may not have access to other forms of global modernity and middle-class mobility, the Metro is something that they can actually step into and they can embody this middle-class mobility and experience in their everyday commute. So the idea of aspirational plays out in these different ways. Another way in which it plays out, is that it can elide the purpose of public transportation, which really is for greater equality, right? And in people of different incomes being able to get around the city and save time, right? Time is money, right? In our era, and one of the most important points about public transportation is that, okay, you’re not sitting on the road in a car or on a scooter or whatever it is, you’re not getting the fumes from traffic from pollution, from cars and buses and trucks. And you’re riding in this more dignified way because you’re on a Metro, which is air conditioned, which is a big deal in the Delhi climate because most of the air is very hot. So there’s the idea of dignity, but then there’s also this idea of, of equal access. Metros are generally try to be not too expensive and the Delhi Metro is one of the cheapest in the world. I’ve interviewed many people who say that it’s more expensive than the bus and that’s why they still ride the bus. I’ve also interviewed many people who say ,it’s a little bit more expensive than the bus and that can be tough, but I’d rather be on the Metro. So you have people of all classes, but at the same time, we can’t really say the Delhi Metro is all about social equality or erasing certain kinds of inequality in terms of access in the city, because if the Indian government were really serious about that, or the Delhi government were really serious, they would have poured even half the money or a quarter of the money they spent on the Metro system and put it in the bus system because that’s really where the majority of lower income people, that’s really how they get around, more than the Metro. So you have this contradiction. Yes, the Metro is open to a huge swath of society and you don’t have to be rich to take the Metro, not at all. And yet it represents this kind of world-class, shiny city and those capital interests that promote certain kinds of property growth, promotes certain kinds of aspirational entities like shopping malls and kind of fancier parts of town. So that contradiction is there and like every city has to figure out, right, where do you invest and who will benefit the most? And so that’s an issue with the Metro for sure.

Thomas: So key to your project in investigating the human ramifications of the Metro is a component of gender. So talk to me a little bit about how this plays out with gender issues. I mean, obviously gender means women. I mean, we’re not talking really about how this affects men.

Rashmi: Well, it affects both. It affects women and men, but maybe in slightly different ways. So one of the big things about public transport in many cities across the world, I’ve heard women talk about this from New York to Paris to Delhi, and that is the issue of sexual harassment on buses, on city streets, and in Metro systems. And so this is the case for Delhi as well. And the buses are kind of notorious for being crowded, for being uncomfortable in the hot months. And also where, you know, women get harassed, especially college students and pretty much every single woman I’ve talked to in Delhi who grew up in Delhi, everybody has been harassed at some point. When I was living in Delhi for a couple of years doing my dissertation research, I also was harassed on the street, not in a bus. It goes with the territory, unfortunately. There is still this idea, which again is prevalent I think in many cities, that women are not just second class citizens, but somehow that the urban space is for men. And women, okay, they can be there too, but they better be dressed right. They better be behaved so that nothing happens to them. This kind of patriarchal understanding of gender and women’s mobility vis-a-vis men. You have accounts of this in cities like London and New York, and this is true in many Indian cities as well. So there are fewer women in public in India, even though there are a lot but probably, if you’re on a Metro train, one in four passengers will be women. About 27-30% of women in India are in the workforce. So most women still work at home, whether domestic work or other work that they do at home. So again, I mean, if you go to any Indian city, you’re going to see women everywhere on the street dressed in all kinds of ways. So it’s not that there aren’t women, but it’s still, my point is that it’s still a male dominated society, and a lot of families especially still think of the city as a dangerous place for women. And so they will curtail their movements or say, you shouldn’t go out at night. Even growing up in the US it became very clear to me early on, oh, I shouldn’t go into a park at night in the dark.

So I think as girls or women in most or many societies we’re given these clues early on of where it’s safe and where it’s not safe. And if something happens, where we will be blamed, and where we will not be blamed, and you kind of get encoded in that way in whatever society you live in. So with the Metro it was a minor revolution, because the Metro was considered, the Delhi Metro was considered safe, a lot safer than the buses. And this is basically because the Metro system, well, there are a few reasons. One is that it’s highly surveyed. You have CCTV cameras all over the place. You have a ticketed entry and exit. You have a feeling of newness and order. You have security guards everywhere. You have airport-like security to enter and exit every station. So it is a completely different environment than any other place in the city. And because of all of that surveillance, a lot of people feel safer. I mean, not only women, men too, but maybe, especially women.

It’s not that there’s never any harassment on the Metro. There is, but compared to the bus, I mean just dozens, dozens, dozens of interviews that I’ve had and informal conversations I’ve had with women and men, and they both say it’s just, it’s a very different environment. Now again, this relates back to the class issue, because a lot of people will say to me, Oh, on the bus you have, you don’t have the right kind of people and on the Metro you do. And basically what they’re talking is, Oh, you don’t have working class men. And on the Metro and on the bus you have working class men and they’re the harassers. But what’s interesting is in my 4,000 hours, over many years of riding the Metro, I can tell you that there are many working class men on the Metro. Again, maybe this is the question more for the sociologists, but my hypothesis is that in the environment of the Metro, it is a lot harder to harass somebody and get away with it. There is something about the environment. Also people have a lot of pride in the Metro and pride in the environment, and most people in Delhi want it to be a success, and they’re really very proud of the Metro, and they love that they can get around the city in this manner. So I think there are a lot of things that go into it, but I think it’s a different kind of space where getting around, I know I felt this early on too, I immediately thought, Oh, I can get around at night now, and it’s much more safe than taking a taxi or an auto rickshaw or a bus. And that was frankly liberating. So on one hand you have this kind of idea of surveillance, right? Which we think of as neoliberal maternity and like curtailing our freedoms. But on the other hand, well, it can give you a kind of freedom to, and I guess that’s the whole point about it, right? Where it’s this exchange or bargain or something.

So I look at gender mobility in terms of how I am interested in especially how it changes women’s lives in terms of what they feel they can do now in the city, and also I’m interested in how they view the city. What are they thinking as they go along and see the expanse of the city. What are the kind of possibilities that come to their minds that maybe didn’t come before?

In terms of education, in terms of maybe starting a business, in terms of meeting someone – That’s become a big thing on the Metro people, meeting people and having romances – there’s a kind of new field of possibility. The other aspect of the gender – sort of idea of gender mobility on the Metro is that about eight years after the Metro started, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which is called the DMRC, it’s known as the DMRC. They’re the ones that built the Metro and, and run it in the day to day. So they decided that they wanted to have a ladies-only coach and it’s called the ladies’ coach. So one car of each Metro train, usually the first car, is reserved for women passengers only. Now a lot of women in Delhi were against this when it happened because they said this is infantilizing, this promotes patriarchal culture, and the idea that we have to be separated, and the problem is with the men, not with the women. This is not good. In fact, the whole idea of the Metro is that it’s this new public space and men and women just have to exist and treat each other properly. Right? So that was the argument by some, but then others were like, you know, I wouldn’t be allowed to ride the Metro if it weren’t for the ladies’ coach, or I wouldn’t feel comfortable riding it if it weren’t for the ladies’ coach. So these arguments were neither here nor there because I mean, yes, they played out in the city newspapers and blogs and stuff, but the DMRC had already decided they didn’t want any negative publicity about any kind of harassment that could happen. And there were some cases of harassment. So they just decided to unilaterally make that decision. So what happened in my research is that the ladies’ coach became this kind of laboratory for me – it became this very interesting space for me to study in addition to the mixed or general coaches as they’re called, and to think about the forms of sociality that are particular to the ladies’ coach and also to think about how the general coaches changed, because of course the main thing in the general coaches is that they became more male. Not all women go in the ladies’ coach, but I would say about 75% do. And so it changed the ratio of men to women in the general coach, which I have to say really was a shame. Because in the early years of the Metro, there was something really nice about seeing a lot of men and a lot of women together sharing the space and for the most part, sharing it in a civil manner. I think that was good for the city, frankly. But I’ve also come to see that there are many advantages of having the ladies’ coach especially for women who were maybe not as comfortable going around the city on their own. I think it is a safe space for them and I think it does increase their mobility because, because it exists.

Thomas: How does that work on a like very practical level? Like is the ladies’ coach always in the center? Is it marked somehow? How do you know? Okay. Yeah. Platform.

Rashmi: That’s a good question. All right.

So the Delhi Metro coaches or trains rather, it’s one long train. It’s similar to the trains in Paris and in Hong Kong, and it was actually modeled, the design was modeled after the Hong Kong Metro. So you can be at one end of the Metro train and if it’s not going on a curve, if it’s just going straight, you can see all the way to the end of the train. So what that means is that there are no hard and fast dividers. The ladies’ coach is, as I mentioned, usually the first coach of the train or first car of the train and basically there are announcements. So first it’s audible. That’s how they make the distinction that they constantly have announcement saying the first coach is reserved for ladies, but it’s a porous boundary between the ladies’ coach and other coaches. So oftentimes when the train is really crowded or the platform is really crowded, men will enter through the ladies’ coach and then go into the general coach, which they’re not supposed to do, but they do it. On the platform itself, there are pink signboards overhead and also kind of pink stickers on the floor designating where on the platform you should stand if you want to get into the ladies’ coach. So that’s really the main way that people know where to go.

Thomas: I’d like to talk a little bit about, as we’re going into more anthropological methods, because you’ve alluded to this, you mentioned interviewing the planners, the engineers, and the people who kind of designed it and made it, and also those who use it. I’d like to just hear some stories and reactions to doing a participant observation among a very, you could say unbounded or temporarily bounded research group where as you’ve said before, you rarely talked to the same person twice. The idea of returning and understanding, it’s a constant flow, which is the nature of these, I mean, that’s the point. So yeah, if you talk about trying to do ethnographic research among a constantly moving populace.

Rashmi: Sure. Well, when I first started the project, I didn’t know how I was going to research it. I had some ideas, but I just thought, okay, the safe way to start for me was to go to the big building, the big offices of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in Delhi of course. That was really how I started. I could actually do sit down interviews with people. They’re not very open to talk to researchers. The Delhi Metro has had extremely good press coverage. The press is all for the Metro, and they kind of, they like that. That’s what they want you to focus on is just the positives. They’re not as open to kind of critical questioning or deep understanding of what’s going on. Especially to people like academics where they can’t control what you’re going to write about. So I did a bunch of interviews with different people at the DMRC, but I didn’t feel that that was getting me very far. So then, I really started to look at different avenues of how to talk to people. So at the time, in 2011 and 2012, I was teaching at the Indian Institute of Technology and a couple of my students, their fathers actually were architects and engineers. So that was how I got to some of those interviews. About a year or two into the project, I was riding the Metro a lot. I was observing people, I was eavesdropping on their conversations, all of that. But a year or two into it, I just thought, okay, this is awkward, but I just have to start talking to people, and that’s what I did. And once I started, I kind of never stopped. Now when I go to Delhi, I just immediately get onto the train and start talking to people. But at the beginning it was awkward because you’re on a Metro train and someone starts talking to you. I mean, it is a little weird, but I would basically tell them what I was, what I was doing. And, and that was really how the method started was I would have conversations of varying lengths, depending on how long somebody was on the train. So if I went to a very far out station at the end of the line, for instance, I could be sitting, chatting with somebody for 20 minutes or half an hour, other times in more central areas, where people are getting on and off more frequently, maybe I talked to someone for five minutes. In my data collection, I realized I had just a real variety of the kinds of conversations, the kinds of people and the kinds of topics that get broached. When you’re sitting and talking to someone for awhile, you can get onto different related subjects like family, like school, like jobs, all of these different things. So that started feeding into the larger portrait I was making. But I also talked to people who were not on the trains. So for instance, there’s a beauty salon in Delhi that someone had told me that they had been to and that the people who worked there were talking about the Metro. So I started to go to this beauty salon and I started talking to these women and men actually who worked there. I would go there once a week, kind of near closing time, and I would just sit around and talk to them about the work they did, the clients they had, what they did after work. Then I started riding home with them, commuting on the Metro with them. And this was kind of interesting to me because I was, I’d intersected with them at their place of work, but then I sort of would end the day with them as they were commuting home. And so it gave me a sense of how the Metro and ideas of the Metro intersected with their lives. So I came up with a lot of strategies and ways of thinking about, and actually talking to people, sometimes I would just go to a Metro station and I would start interviewing people who worked around the station, some of whom maybe didn’t take the Metro, others of whom did. I was especially interested in certain lower income communities where people were not taking the Metro, but yet the Metro was in their midst. It was overhead. The station was right in the middle of where they lived and worked. And I was interested in how they felt about that and how it impacted their lives, and how they intersected with some of these ideas about economic mobility or aspiration or those kinds of ideas. Many times I found that they were resentful and they said, look, all of this money the government has put into this shiny system and we don’t have water. We have to line up twice a week at a water truck and bring our jugs. And this is in central parts of the city. So you have these contrasts that are really striking and really interesting when we think about what does urbanization really mean? Who, who gets urbanized and who doesn’t, or what are the various levels of urbanization happening? I think it’s an exciting time to be an anthropologist actually.

Thomas: Thank you so much for taking some time out of your, your day to talk to us about this.

Rashmi: Enjoyed it. Thanks for the great questions.

Thomas: So that was Dr. Rashmi Sadana and a little bit of what we talked about.

Meredith: You all talked for over two hours. Right?

Thomas: It was so fascinating.

Meredith: Yeah, that’s wild. I mean that’s, it just goes to show that, you know, it’s like 20 minutes of a two hour conversation, you can imagine all the other kind of tangents and issues and things that you guys got into. What did you, what did you get into that you feel like we didn’t really talk about too much in the edited version?

Thomas: Well, I think so, my favorite thing about Rashmi’s like conceptualizing in articulation of this project is that like nothing’s simple. So this idea that everything is not this or this, it’s this and this things coexist. Sometimes things are good and bad depending on your perspective or who you are. So the concept of like, well this like ladies’ coach, is that good or bad? Well it’s kind of both. You know, she talked about this idea that at the beginning it was a space for everyone to be together and then they instituted the ladies’ coach and 75% of the women now ride in the ladies’ coach. And that she sees is kind of a, you know, a mixed, a mixed bag. And she sees that in every way, because you know, she’s a complicated thinker in April to hold two conflicting ideas in her mind at once, and that permeated everything. So one of the things I thought was really interesting, this project is part of a trend in anthropology right now called the anthropology of infrastructure. So I was asking about the whole thing about, well this is a little bit sociological, a little bit anthropological. And she was saying, yeah, that’s kind of a thing that’s happening right now. One of the things I thought was really interesting was that while we focused on the Delhi Metro and all the implications it’s had, it hasn’t necessarily “fixed” the infrastructure problems of deli. She was saying that while the Metro has 3 million daily writers, they’re also registering new cars like mad hundreds and hundreds of new cars every week get registered in Delhi. So it hasn’t fixed the problem of like traffic and congestion, because you know, it’s an aspirational society, right? And aspiration manifests itself in mobility, right? It’s a marker of wealth and class to be able to go where you want to go, when you want to go. And cars are the ultimate vehicle for that, no pun intended. All these things are kind of happening together. And I think it’s really great that you’ve got people like Rashmi who are analyzing them, seeing them, but not reducing them to simple answers because there are no simple answers.

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Jun 4 @ 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
POSTPONED: Field Trip: History and Archaeology of Picuris Pueblo @ Depart from SAR | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
POSTPONED: History and Archaeology of Picuris Pueblo Picuris Pueblo. Courtesy of SAR. DATE POSTPONED Cost per person: $225 (Includes a $25 non-refundable tax-deductible donation to SAR) Field trip limited to 20 participants. Picuris Pueblo is one[...]
Jun
12
Fri
2020
5:00 pm POSTPONED: Cocktails and Convers... @ Online
POSTPONED: Cocktails and Convers... @ Online
Jun 12 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
POSTPONED Cocktails and Conversations: Honoring Three Years of the Creative Thought Forum at SAR A Virtual Live and Silent Auction Event Date: POSTPONED, TBA Location: Online Admission: Ticketing pending. Please stay tuned for a virtual[...]
Jun
16
Tue
2020
2:00 pm Online Salon with James A. Trost... @ Hosted online
Online Salon with James A. Trost... @ Hosted online
Jun 16 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Online Salon with James A. Trostle - "A Social Diagnosis and Prognosis for COVID-19" @ Hosted online
“A Social Diagnosis and Prognosis” with James A. Trostle Tuesday, June 16 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (MDT)  In an SAR online salon, James A. Trostle, the Scott M. Johnson ’97 Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Trinity College[...]
Jun
30
Tue
2020
2:00 pm Online Salon with Severin Fowles... @ Hosted online
Online Salon with Severin Fowles... @ Hosted online
Jun 30 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Online Salon with Severin Fowles - "The Interpretation of Ancestral Pueblo Rock Art" @ Hosted online
“The Interpretation of Ancestral Pueblo Rock Art” with Severin Fowles Tuesday, June 30 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (MDT)  Humans have produced images for tens of thousands of years; indeed, image production is regarded as a universal[...]
Jul
6
Mon
2020
5:00 pm President’s Circle Virtual Happy... @ Hosted online
President’s Circle Virtual Happy... @ Hosted online
Jul 6 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
President's Circle Virtual Happy Hour with Nancy Owen Lewis: New Mexico in the Time of Influenza @ Hosted online | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
President’s Circle Virtual Happy Hour New Mexico in the Time of Influenza: A Conversation with Nancy Owen Lewis As members of the President’s Circle and Founders’ Society, you are cordially invited to attend a Virtual[...]
Jul
17
Fri
2020
5:00 pm Beyond Borders: Hostile Terrain ... @ Hosted online
Beyond Borders: Hostile Terrain ... @ Hosted online
Jul 17 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Beyond Borders: Hostile Terrain 94 Virtual Exhibit Opening @ Hosted online | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Beginning in the summer of 2020, the School of Advanced Research (SAR), in collaboration SITE Santa Fe and Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe (CCA), presents Beyond Borders, a series of installations and events starting[...]
Jul
18
Sat
2020
3:00 pm Beyond Borders – MacArthur Fello... @ Hosted online
Beyond Borders – MacArthur Fello... @ Hosted online
Jul 18 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Beyond Borders - MacArthur Fellows in Conversation: Jason De León and Steven Feld @ Hosted online | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Beginning in the summer of 2020, the School of Advanced Research (SAR), in collaboration SITE Santa Fe and Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe (CCA), presents Beyond Borders, a series of installations and events starting[...]

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