Memories of a Forest City: Ecological Encounters and Affect in Islamabad
- Tayeba Batool
- Department of Anthropology, School of Arts & Sciences
Student Creative Production Grant
Memories of a Forest City: Ecological Encounters and Affect in Islamabad is an online multimedia archive of oral histories, images, and artwork that captures the transformation and affective politics of urban nature in Islamabad, one of South Asia’s premier post-colonial planned cities. Urban and political theorists point out that “seeing like a state” (Scott 1998) will necessarily show that nature in the city (taken broadly to encompass all the various flora, fauna, and green spaces) is always used to control and manage space and social order. Yet, in viewing urban nature as always and only being made through state practices obscures the politics of city-making on the ground. As Choy (2011) illustrates, an attention to the differentiated and affective experiences of air across class privileges, labor, and residential status, can unsettle the ontological fixing of bodies and places against Eurocentric hegemonies over urban and environmental knowledge and practices. In this same line of a decolonizing and feminist praxis, Tayeba Batool’s project centers on the lived experience, stories, memories, and aspirations of Islamabad’s long-term residents to show how the city transformed on the ground. How is urban nature recreated and for whom? In this project, Batool will develop an online multimedia website that will serve as an archive for residents for Islamabad and demonstrate a methodological intervention to experiment with ways of knowing, preserving, and representing the urban and political ecologies of greening.