About the Book
Amidst the urban landscapes of multiple cities across the United States and India loom large the spectacular complexes of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs, better known as the Akshardham temples. The stunning architecture of the sprawling temple complexes contrasts with the stark modern functionality of the cities in which they are situated. With their light and sound shows, musical fountains, boat rides, and food courts, these religious sites borrow heavily from the concept of the theme park.
The author explores these temple complexes in the context of globalization, as constituting narratives of migration, transnationalism, spiritualism, national identity, multiculturalism, and racism. Employing the Marxian dialectical method she shows how culture, economy, and spectacular urban landscapes work in tandem to produce globalization. She argues that a new urbanism is fast becoming an integral part of cultural globalization—one that is based on the commodification of the ‘fantastic’ and the ‘spectacular’, often through the medium of religion. This volume explores these themes to bring into focus the circulation of ‘theme park’ urbanism on the one hand, and the ‘mandirization’ of modern cities on the other.
About the Author
Ipsita Chatterjee is Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of North Texas, USA. She has previously taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Pennsylvania State University. She has a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University, Massachusetts, USA, and is the author of Displacement, Revolution, and the New Urban Condition: Theories and Case Studies (2014).