Next AHRI History paper (24/10/18): The Colonial Architecture of the Hindu Temple

The Colonial Architecture of the Hindu Temple

The second AHRI/Scottish Centre for Global History seminar will be held at the Fairlie Room, Main Library, on Wednesday, 24 October, 5.00 -6.30 pm. Dr Deborah Sutton, Senior Lecturer, University of Lancaster, will speak on ‘Petrification and Purity: The Colonial Architecture of the Hindu Temple. All welcome.

‘Petrification and Purity: The Colonial Architecture of the Hindu Temple’.

This paper is part of a larger project that examines the colonial creation of ‘the Hindu Temple’ from the late-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The paper will trace the refinement of the temple structure as ‘vacated’ architecture, divorced from its devotional occupation and socio-cultural environment. The voluminous and intricate decoration that was regarded as ‘typical’ of temple architecture was regarded as both index and illustration of Hindu degeneration. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, an English scholar of architecture remarked that temple architecture could only be erected under ‘a despotic hierarchy or monarchy’. Architectural analysis created a single, unified architectural subject but did so by disassembling the temple into elements that could be distinguished and categorised as representative of specific chronological and regional styles