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Making Lahore Modern

Constructing and Imagining a Colonial City

2007
Author:

William J. Glover

Making Lahore Modern

Establishes Lahore as a key site for understanding modernity as a global phenomenon

William J. Glover investigates the traditions that shaped colonial Lahore, focusing on the conviction that both British and Indian actors who implemented urbanization shared: that the material fabric of the city could lead to social and moral improvement. Glover reveals that urban change in colonial India was not a monolithic process and establishes Lahore as a key site for understanding the genealogy of modern global urbanism.

A thoughtful, lucid, and original piece of work, Making Lahore Modern is a notable addition to the growing literature on South Asian cities.

Dipesh Chakrabarty, author of Habitations of Modernity

Fifty years after the British annexed the Punjab and made Lahore its provincial capital, the city—once a prosperous Mughal center that had long since fallen into ruin—was transformed. British and Indian officials had designed a modern, architecturally distinct city center adjacent to the old walled city, administered under new methods of urban governance.

In Making Lahore Modern, William J. Glover investigates the traditions that shaped colonial Lahore. In particular, he focuses on the conviction that both British and Indian actors who implemented urbanization came to share: that the material fabric of the city could lead to social and moral improvement. This belief in the power of the physical environment to shape individual and collective sentiments, he argues, links the colonial history of Lahore to nineteenth-century urbanization around the world.

Glover highlights three aspects of Lahore’s history that show this process unfolding. First, he examines the concepts through which the British understood the Indian city and envisioned its transformation. Second, through a detailed study of new buildings and the adaptation of existing structures, he explores the role of planning, design, and reuse. Finally, he analyzes the changes in urban imagination as evidenced in Indian writings on the city in this period. Throughout, Glover emphasizes that colonial urbanism was not simply imposed; it was a collaborative project between Indian citizens and the British.

Offering an in-depth study of a single provincial city, Glover reveals that urban change in colonial India was not a monolithic process and establishes Lahore as a key site for understanding the genealogy of modern global urbanism.

Awards

Winner of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies Junior Book Prize

Making Lahore Modern

William J. Glover is associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he teaches architectural and urban history. His writing has been published in Journal of Asian Studies, HomeCultures, The Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Countries, and other publications.

Making Lahore Modern

A thoughtful, lucid, and original piece of work, Making Lahore Modern is a notable addition to the growing literature on South Asian cities.

Dipesh Chakrabarty, author of Habitations of Modernity

This is an original, sophisticated, and very well-researched account that draws on a rich fund of British and Indian sources, contemporary fiction, extensive fieldwork, and recent work on colonial urbanism.

Comparative Studies in Society and History

Glover’s work is not only relevant to urban studies but also studies of colonialism, governmentality, and the development of non-western modern aesthetics. It will make for delightful informative readings for scholars, urban planners, and Lahoris who love to love their city.

Michigan Architecture

Linking as he does the history of the built environment, affect, and the origin and meaning of the large-scale processes of modernity, Glover helps capture the diagnostic threads of the paradoxical practices of institutional governance, as well as the problematic concentrations of capital that exist in modern day South Asian cities. Making Lahore Modern is thus mandatory reading for anyone who is interested in the temporal formations and the logics of spatiality in the postcolonial South Asian city.

The Journal of Asian Studies

This book is a fascinating example of an architectural and urban history of a colonial setting. It brings together theory and empirical evidence so deftly that they no longer seem like two different ways to tackle architecture.

Buildings & Landscapes

Making Lahore Modern is a book that has clearly been researched and authored with a passion and represents a useful contribution to the fields of colonial urban history, architectural history, and urban spatial studies.

Urban Studies