The iconic Bengal Lounge in Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel served its last customers at the end of April. On Sept. 29, the University of Victoria’s first City Talks of the new season will feature a panel discussion on the implications of closing the lounge and on rethinking the imperial legacies of contemporary urbanism in Victoria.
The evening opens with a talk by historian Neilesh Bose, the new Canada Research Chair in Global and Comparative History at UVic, as an overview of India, indigeneity and the modern city.
His talk will include an exploration of how the development of urban space relates to modern science, public health and sanitation, and the modern conception of race, as well as the global circulation of value through real estate speculation.
It will conclude by outlining how Calcutta transformed from a place of opulence and wealth in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as geo-political strategy and power, into a model of racial segregation in colonial India of 1858 to 1947.
The series (thecitytalks.ca) was launched in 2010 by UVic’s Committee for Urban Studies and offers an informative presentation by a prominent speaker on what cities mean to us.
Held each month (fall through spring) at the university’s free public downtown art gallery, each talk is also followed by a Q&A session.
Beyond the Postcolonial City? India, Indigeneity, and the Modern City with Neilesh Bose, begins at 7:30 p.m.
The panel discussion for “The Bengal Lounge Debate – History, Empire, and the Contemporary City” includes Lincoln Shlensky, UVic’s department of English; Sikata Banerjee, UVic’s department of Gender Studies; and Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt.
Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Legacy Downtown, 630 Yates St. Admission is free.