Faculty: Divya Shah

Indigenous cartographies: Monsoon assemblages

Native landscapes are places that have evolved closely with the natural settings; they harbor cultural histories, systems of knowledge, and collective memories that instill a strong sense of belonging and identity in their people. Villages nestled deep in the rainforests of the Western Ghats are one such place. They dwell in a forest biome that embodies the rhythm of rains and other natural phenomena in their existence. Ways of inhabiting such landscapes are a spatial indicator of this rhythm. Characterized by traces, territories, and markings of ephemeral, cyclical, or constant nature that exist or is drawn, they are deliberative articulations of ways of existence that are context-specific landscape–culture entanglements. The human knowledge systems of spatial and temporal dimensions are embedded in place-based narratives and acts that give insight into the intersections of human, non-human, and more than human life worlds. Broader research examines these correlations between landscape and culture to develop a philosophy or practice that responds to a period of sociocultural challenges and climate crises. The study proposes a participatory spatial procedure to formalize local ways of knowing a forest village in the Western Ghats that dwells in the realm of monsoons and other seasonal rhythms. The study may help generate a vision of how native communities develop context-specific adaptation strategies that anticipate planetary challenges and respond promptly.