Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Chair

Department of Anthropology

University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

University of Pennsylvania

Teaching: Courses

    In Daroji Valley: Landscape History, Place, and the Making of a Dryland Reservoir System I take a closer look at the remarkable reservoirs of the Vijayanagara period.  Vijayanagara reservoirs ranged in size from small ponds to vast artificial lakes with dams more than three kilometers long and water-spreads in the thousands of hectares. While these runoff-fed facilities may be seen as impressive feats of engineering and sites of congealed labor, they also operated within complex agrarian worlds that integrated the actions of farmers, herders, elite patrons, kings, and even gods and demons in meaningfully-constituted local geographies.  The book integrates textual, archaeological, topographic/hydrological, and architectural information to build a long-term landscape history of one large valley south of the city of Vijayanagara, examining the ways in which places were marked, used, and reused from the Neolithic through to the present.  In particular, I am concerned in this work to both outline the historical development of dry-farming landscapes and to show how dry farmers, though integral supports for Vijayanagara urban economies and symbolic orders, were systematically excluded from participation in profitable and prestigious networks of circulation involving, above all, rice and money.  The book articulates a framework for the analysis of landscape history, discussing some of the conceptual lineaments of this concept and providing an extended case study of what such an approach might look like.  In making the case for a need to move beyond programmatics in the study of landscape and place, the book combines theoretical and programmatic discussion with much substantial information on the long-term landscape history of southern India.