Clark Fellow Tamara Sears presents "Wilderness Urbanisms: Architecture, Landscape, and Travel in Southern Asia."
In the early 1340s, the sultan of Delhi tasked the famed Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, with the job of accompanying a group of Mongol emissaries on their return voyage to China. Their route to the western Indian seaports took them on a meandering journey, following the flow of rivers and fortified outposts that punctuated the otherwise vast tracts of dense and dangerous forest. Bringing together real world perambulations with visual and literary representations of this wilderness landscape, this lecture examines the close relationship between human mobility and architecture, and it reflects on the inherent mutability of both built and natural environments.
Tamara Sears is a specialist in South Asian art history, with an emphasis on the Indian subcontinent. Her first book, Worldly Gurus and Spiritual Kings: Architecture and Asceticism in Medieval India (Yale University Press, 2014), received the PROSE award in Architecture and Urban Planning. Her essays have appeared in well over a dozen volumes and journals, including The Art Bulletin, Ars Orientalis, and Archives of Asian Art. She has held faculty positions at Florida State, NYU, and Yale, and she has received grants and fellowships from Fulbright, the J. Paul Getty Foundation, the Society of Architectural Historians, the National Humanities Center, and Dumbarton Oaks. At the Clark, she will be completing her second book, which examines the relationships among landscape, architecture, environmental history, and travel on local, regional, and global scales.