Colonial Cities 1: The rule of ‘experts’in colonial Bombay
Looking at colonial Bombay as an example of a global city a city experiencing urban change due
to Globalization.How it experienced colonization.
Short history period of time: 50yr period. 1850-1902
Arguments for papers:
1: this is a global city. based on 2 sources. First part, intro of city, location, democraphics, who
lives there, economy, industry, what do people do for work, other descrptors of the city (fact
book, UN sites) half a page, next 2 pages, an argument as to why it is a global city. demonstrate
understanding of globalzation, and knowlege of material available aboiut your city. its gloabl due
to these factors. its global due to the different cultres it experiences.
Review of Last week:
Definition of G. Study that is trying to capture what sorts of changes have been taken place in a
city or country because of the interconnectedness of people and things.
Looking at 4 key aspects:
1 international commerce
2 capital moves across international boundaries a lot easier; remittances
3 travel and Migration, travel for leisure, tourism, as well as for work or to relocate
4 increases in communication and technology our networks are global networks across countries,
like FB, snapchat we are able to communicate and keep up with news, ideas and cultures in a
much wider network
1) Time-Space compression: This has led to time-space compression. It took a long time to travel
across the globe. These 4 factors have shrunken that time to that it takes to travel or
communicate. Eliminated that friction of distance which is one of the reasons why G has an
urban impact and causes urban change
2) De- territorialization: The nation-state as a decision making entity is less important because
cities are a target capital of migration, of capital and travel. The state as an entity is less
important. Because cities now are now a capital of migration, capital, dictating these sorts of
relationships. Cities have risen in power as a result.
3) increased mechanisms of the nation of reinforcing those boundaries: ex. boundary line of the
borders of El Paso andAudrez, theres a city on both sides separated by that border.
4) There is uneven geography to globalization. The wealthy are the ones experiencing G. 75%
aren't much so, dont consume goods that came from somewhere else. But these things are
changing. Theres an increasing availability of the internet and transportation of goods. The ways
in which people experience G differs depending on where you are born and your statuses etc.
Key themes this week:
Idea of Colonialism in a particular colonial bombay. In that we explore the idea: - that expertise that gets transferred from one place to another in terms of managing B.
-Idea of Colonial cartography and desirability of Legibility
legibility is a thing that can be read
how is the reading of map shaped colonial exercises
how we can imagine we know about a place but that may differ substantially from that might
actually be going on
-universal truths vs. culturally specific contexts
things that is universally true everywhere and culturally specific contexts and how that created
havoc of the colonial powers in bombay
- public health and urban planning
Bombay has been a colonial city for a long time and target of colonial expansion for a large part
of its history.
Colonialism- countries own territories outside their territory. this relationship between countries
and its colonies. Designates its relationship between mostly european countries and their
Many reasons why countries engaged in colonialism:
-prestigious, status symbol.
-Colonialism at its root is an economic practice. Colonies provided resources, markets and labor,
also usually had a monopolistic relationship (England by owning B as a colony the trade relation
wasn’t negotiated, it was just one relationship present)
Why some used colonization as justification for it:
-Religious. Christianity has the obligation to spread Christianity as a moral obligation.
-Some were paternalistic.Some societies aren't able to civilize without the help of a colonial
master. a colonial master. US and Philipians. P needed US to help them out.
Colonial Bombay- explored via 2 case studies
1. street numbering
2. public health
indicates for expert planning or expert led control over space.
Rule of experts- universal ideas of how things should be done was part of the basis of
colonialism. experts know best and they're trying to help out societies or people that may not
know better. Urban Planning was a practice of expertise. it’s relatively new. Scientists and other
people make decisions and implement those decisions without consultation.
The Rule of Experts
-western science can solve social ills
-key decision should be in hands of experts -universal truths (that streets need #’s everywhere)
-map making is tied to exploration. to this expansion of power from europe to new places.
document new places that’ve been discovered.
Colonial: Cartography and the desire of Legibility
- to make places of Bombay legible to colonial authorities. that there is something about being
able to construct maps and have keys that make spaces more knowable and less scary and more
How does street numbering fit into that?
Are street numbers an expertise?
street numbering provides a grid that is outside the local context to refrain those faces to those
who might want to visit or do a census or charge taxes. You can come in and just know the city
in some sort of way. NorthAmerican cities are pretty new and the streets are on grids. Europe is
complicated as there were old cities where travel wasn’t done by cars and were developed pre-
urban planning, but developed system of urban planning earlier in a different way. street
planning is boring but what its indicative is for the desire for colonial powers to make a space
new and unfamilariable knowable, and that knowledge allows of other ways of power.
knowledge is power. a knowledge of getting around the street is power. that power manifests in
different ways like trying to tax people or find them. colonial powers had a hard time in making a
system. experts may have a way to know how to make something better but local people realize
it may be a way of exerting control and or may not want it they will do things to resent that sort
The failure of the system
what the B did was street # were important for the colonial spaces where they lived and worked.
so they gave up in a lot of ways which is a key understanding of limits. there is a C power that
exerts power over a colony and has a will