• Building a Republic of Villages
    Anthony Acciavatti

Photographer Unknown, Village level workers using nonverbal visual teaching aids in a village in northern India, ca. 1956. Courtesy the collection of Anthony Acciavatti

At its heart, Building A Republic of Villages asks how to think about dreams of social engineering and design pedagogy in the service of nation building in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular, the research focuses on how a group of scientists and engineers collaborated with architects and artists to develop new forms of visual pedagogy in South Asia. The goal of this pedagogy was to provide the local community with tools and resources to build new communities and industries from the village level. Rooted in the material culture of these practices, this project retrieves the ways in which design and the sciences were crucial components of colonial and postcolonial development schemes in the region and beyond.

Anthony Acciavatti works at the intersection of architecture and the history of science and technology. He is interested in experimental forms of scholarship, pedagogy, and design afforded by humanistic inquiry. His most recent book, Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River (Applied Research & Design, 2015), is the first comprehensive mapping and environmental history of the Ganges River Basin in over half a century. In 2016, the book was awarded the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize. Trained in architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University, in geography at the University of Allahabad, and in the history of science at Princeton University, Acciavatti currently teaches at Yale University. His work has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship as well as grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Mellon Foundation. He is a principal of Somatic Collaborative in New York and a founding editor of Manifest: A Journal of the Americas. He has written for the New York Times, Cabinet, Indian Express, Architectural Design, and Topos among other places.