• Shadow Thresholds: Architectures of Ruin in India
    Shivangi Mariam Raj

Samuel Bourne, “Babri Masjid, Faizabad, Ayodhya, India,” ca. 1863–87. Albumen silver print, 6 x 8 1/4 in. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

This project combines creative research with counter-cartographies to investigate critical questions underscoring the complicity of the built environment in engineering violence, specifically against Muslim lifeworlds in India. Focusing on communities in Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh in northern and central India, the project centers debris as its point of interrogation and foregrounds ruin as an active architectural construction, arguing that spatial wounding is not a collateral consequence, but rather the very objective of violence. By reducing the minoritized communities to rubble and refuse, spatial wounding seeks to distort the way these communities experience time—thereby producing a vortex of temporal confinement. The project offers alternative methods of mapping these space-time layers to demonstrate that dominant forces do not simply create conditions of subjugation inside a territory, rather they produce the territory itself.

Shivangi Mariam Raj is a writer from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, India. As an independent researcher, she is interested in visual cultures of majoritarian violence across South Asia, language as the site of caste apartheid in India, and spectral temporalities as forms of resistance in Kashmir. She utilizes essays, poetry, and reportage for individual memory to coalesce into a broader inquiry of the politics of public remembering. Her practice combines approaches in sociolinguistics, soundscapes, photography, counter-cartographies, translation, and ethnography. In 2013, she was awarded the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Grant for her documentation of the spatial dimensions of oral literature in the Jaunsar-Bawar region of Uttarakhand, India. She is a university dropout and previously worked with Oxford University Press. She is the 2024–25 editorial fellow for Logic(s) Magazine at INCITE Center of Columbia University. She works with The Funambulist, a platform dedicated to the politics of space and bodies.