Lecture 1. Historiographic Challenges in South Asian Architectural History

These lectures revisit architectural histories (itihasas) of the Indian Subcontinent from multidisciplinary, cross-geographical, and interpretive perspectives, supported by a new body of scholarship and archaeological data. The word for “history” in Sanskrit is itihasa, which has traditionally meant “that’s what happened” or “so indeed it was.” Yet, iti (as in itihasa) is often used in a Sanskrit sense of “end quote.” Itihasa, therefore, in its traditional usage has often been infused with a host of subjectivities. In other words, it implies not so much what happened as what people said or thought happened.


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