Conjuring the World-Class Future: The Political Economy of Slum Demolition and Environmental Improvement in Delhi, India


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This work examines the cultural and environmental politics of slum demolitions in the making of a world-class city. It argues that making such a city first requires the production of a world-class imaginary: a hegemonic vision of the future that captures not just the “interests,” but also the emotions of the population. The dissertation is divided into three parts addressing how such an imaginary in Delhi is conjured and consolidated; deployed and received; and contested and re-worked. Part one analyzes how changes in urban governance have given the urban elite a platform to project a new bourgeois aesthetic; part two looks at how slum dwellers receive this aesthetic; and part three examines how urban aesthetics has become the key arena for struggle over the future of the Indian city.