Conceiving Crises
and the emergence of contemporary South Asian space.

This research is concerned with the understanding of the logics of production and reshaping of contemporary human landscapes. It pays particular attention to destructive events (natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, man-made accidents such as car bombs) and the ways in which they trigger chaos, induce multiple states of emergency, affect human settlements and the built environment, threaten the sustenance of the lived space, and pave the way for the constitution and reconstitution of new spatial assemblages and new regimes of authority. Combined systems of humans and nature are convoluted in terms of how they anticipate and respond to disturbed environments: disasters. The capacity to deal with the types of uncertainties and surprises requires innovative approaches, creative combinations of strategies, and the ability to adapt to the changing environment. This research is triggered by various questions evolving out of spatial practices1 and power structures that are in contract with environment as a complex multilayered entity. In Pakistan, natural disasters such as the Kashmir earthquake 2005, the floods of 2010 and the conflict stricken spaces of Swat and adjoining valleys etc. present a fast transforming space that challenges the ordered pattern of human development in a particular space. This re-configuration should be read in terms of the social political and cultural implications it has on the constitution and development of contemporary space.