Architectural Exchanges in South Asia

Spring 2014 Lecture

“Architectural Exchanges in South Asia: Medieval to Contemporary Period”

Soli Sorabjee Lecture in South Asian Studies and The Richard Saivetz ’69 Annual Memorial Architectural Symposium

Friday, April 4, 2014

ancient blueprints in grayscale

Soli Sorabjee Lecture in South Asian Studies

Dr. Grigor and ProjectsOn April 4, 2014, a merging of two lecture series — The Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South Asian Studies and the Richard Saivetz ’69 Annual Memorial Architectural Symposium, sponsored by the South Asian Studies program and the Department of Fine Arts — was presented to a group of eager Brandeis students and scholars of South Asia and fine arts.

Hosted by Prof. Talinn Grigor, the Architectural Exchanges in South Asia: Medieval to Contemporary Periods symposium began with a presentation of architectural models built by students in Boston Architecture and Sex and Space courses, opening up a discourse on modern architecture that would then lead to the presentations of South Asian architecture by Prof. Tamara I. Sears, The Jeffrey Loria Center for the History of Art of Yale University, Prof. Alka Patel, Department of Art History of University of California, Prof. Sussan Babaie, The Courtauld Institute of Art of the University of London, and Prof. Elizabeth Dean Hermann, Division of Architecture and Design of Rhode Island School of Design.

talk2Each lecture by the four scholars brought a vigorous approach to how we look at South Asian architecture. Prof. Tamara I. Sears’ Wandering the Wilderness between Temple and Town: Architecture and Landscape in Medieval Madhya Pradesh analyzed the locations of different temples in Medieval India and how their history affected the way they were built and how we now preserve each individual temple. Prof. Alka Patel’s An Empire between India and Iran: the Ghurids of Afghanistan, 1150-1215 presented how the Ghurid dynasty created a melding of both cultural and architectural histories in Iran and India, and how both inspired one another architecturally. Prof. Sussan Babaie’s Architecture and the Mobility of Taste: Nadir Shah’s Spoils from Delhi showcased the history of Delhi’s architecture influenced by Iranian rule and how the Afsharid dynasty led to the creation of later, modern-day Delhi. And, Prof. Elizabeth Dean Hermann’s Constructing Identity in the Post-Colonial Era: The South Asian Dimension in 20th-Century Sri Lankan Architecture investigated Southern Sri Lankan contemporary architecture influenced and encouraged by Western architectural intervention. The well-researched lectures were concluded with an open discussion over Indian food.

Conference Participants

“Architectural Exchanges in South Asia: Medieval to Contemporary Period” was presented by the Brandeis South Asian Studies Program and the Department of Fine Arts.


Prof. Talinn Grigor, Department of Fine Arts, Brandeis University