Talk: Stubborn Waters: The Cooum’s many urban histories – Aug. 18, 2023

By Aditya Ramesh and Bhavani R

“What do projects to engineer rivers teach us about the city? For almost two centuries Chennai and the Cooum have made each other through intervention that have tried to create a ‘proper’ urban river encompassing its health, its relation to the sea, waste, rains, the urban working classes, fauna and flora. Most recently, these ideas have taken the form of river restoration projects that cultivate a nostalgia for a pristine lost natural river. In this talk, we explore several projects that have tried (and failed) to tame the Cooum into a river to discuss how ideas about nature are, in fact, social interventions that try to remake the city.”

About the Speakers:

Bhavani Raman is a historian of the colonial state and South India. She teaches at the University of Toronto. Aditya Ramesh is an environmental historian who writes about the Kaveri. He teaches at the University of Manchester.

Date: 18th August (Friday) Time: 5.30 PM
Venue: Roja Muthiah Research Library, Taramani