Swati Chattopadhyay’s plenary lecture from last year’s Anglo-American conference has been published in article form in Historical Research‘s online Early View issue.
The article addresses a methodological problem of urban history faced with the current environmental crisis that urges us to think of humans as ‘geological’ agents. It suggests that the concept of the uncanny that pushes our understanding of spatio-temporality may be a useful device for approaching the methodological need to reconcile what we can and cannot experience/visualize. Viewing the mapping projects around Calcutta in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries through the lens of the uncanny offers us the possibility of such a reconciliation. It enables us to see the landscape as a product of multiple spatio-temporal modes, and loosens the grip of the current urban vocabulary on our imagination of cities.