Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationTexas, Austin, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9603
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleHussain, Sardar, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Museumifying a Walled City: An Ethnography of Everyday Life in the Historic District of Lahore, Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Ali
Preliminary abstract: A local autonomous body is implementing a heritage project in the Old City of Lahore, Pakistan. Funded by the World Bank, the project has led to many socio-spatial transformations in the area. My ethnographic research seeks to understand how the ongoing ‘museumification’ (Ali and Reiker 2010) in and of the Old City has affected the sense of place and the rhythm and flow of everyday life for its long-term residents. The proposed research asks four specific questions. (i) How do the long-term residents respond to — experience and relate to or not — the heritage management policies? (ii) What everyday tactics do the residents use to protect, preserve, and alter their everyday means and ways of life? (iii) How do the local communities come together as social groupings to exercise their right to the place they call home? And (iv), finally, how do the inhabitants come to terms with new actors in the area and the bureaucratic and other state apparatus authorized to implement the heritage program? Those affected by the heritage initiative include the socially marginalized groups of people, such as hereditary musicians, (former) dancing women/ sex workers, and the ‘third gender.’ My study aims to contribute to, and intervene in, the ‘always already’ known maps of the city in the Global South. Following the work of AbdouMaliq Simone (2004, 2010), my research understands people as infrastructure; it attends to how the urban poor build networks, keep control of their everyday lives, and render services to make the city work. Researching along these lines, my ethnographic account foregrounds and privileges the heritage of the ordinary, the specific identity of the place, and the cultural practices and objects of ordinary lives in the Old City undergoing transformations.