A reading of Gayatri Spivak’s 1995 “City, Country, Agency,” this article offers a framework for constructing a responsibility-based agency for architecture and urbanism in service of decolonization. Weaving together deconstructive readings of select verses from the Mahābhārata and other Sanskrit texts, it posits an alternate ecologist understanding of history and society as dhāranā, as a kind of holding otherness, that architects must pre-comprehend to responsibly and more impactfully situate their agency in the world. Architectural thinking, or the practices of design, are offered as situational imperativist agencies that are accessible to dhāranā.The article also points toward the ethics of an alternate preservationist practice, that neither fetishizes the object nor sidelines its agency, but invests in and investigates a future oriented praxis that is neither prescriptive nor reactive, but is propelled by desire as inflected via dhāranā.


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pp. 86-120
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