By Tommy Schaperkotter. This summer I traveled to Bangladesh to survey and conduct fieldwork in the Rohingya refugee camps located in the Ukhiya and Teknaf regions, adjacent to the country’s border with Myanmar. I am pursuing this research as a component of a publication and my master’s thesis at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, which addresses the architectural and urban patterns of refugee settlements created in the wake of forced migration that has engendered a humanitarian crisis heretofore unprecedented. This crisis is often explained as one of refugees, but not always as one of refuge, of architectural spaces where the voices, memories, and capabilities of people are held in abeyance, precluded from substantive participation in the creation of their own built environment.
Category : Bangladesh
The following transcript contains the remarks given by Ira A. Jackson, Visiting Lecturer on Sociology at Harvard University, at the conclusion of the Mittal Institute’s Bangladesh Rising Conference on September 16, 2019.
Bangladesh is growing rapidly — both in population size and its economy. Its rich and complex history continues to guide its growth and development today, creating a thriving mix of cultures and ideals. We spoke with Gary Bass — a keynote speaker at our upcoming Bangladesh Rising conference, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, and author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide — to learn his perspective on the current state of Bangladesh’s politics, economics, and humanitarian efforts.
Bangladesh has a complicated history, existing under many names and empires — sometimes independently, other times as a colony or kingdom. Its borders have been drawn and redrawn extensively over the past 4,000 years. At different points in its history, this small section of South Asia repelled Greek invaders, housed a series of Indian dynasties, was conquered by an Islamic empire, supported multiple Hindu kingdoms, was colonized by Europe, and regained its independence as a modern nation.
At Harvard’s latest Arts First Festival, Mittal Institute student grant recipients Nadyeli Quiroz and John David Wagner unveiled their Living Form sunshade project — an installation that will eventually make its way to a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Though it might have been the jetlag, my recent field trip to the Paharpur World Heritage and archaeological site in Naogaon District in northern Bangladesh did not feel like my first visit. As a second-year graduate student in the department of History of Art and Architecture, I had written a seminar paper on the vast Buddhist monastery last fall for a class on esoteric Buddhist art and had spent days hunched over site plans, maps, and photographs of the ninth-century complex.
Alongside our partners – the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and BRAC – we are supporting an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Harvard and Bangladesh, who are examining a range of issues facing vulnerable populations in and around South Asia.
For nearly twenty years, new graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Education have been carrying and waving children’s books as they enter Harvard Yard for the commencement ceremony. This tradition emphasizes the importance of children’s literacy and inclusion, as the books represent different cultures from around the world.
This year amongst copies of The Hungry Caterpillar and A Snowy Day will be several copies of Harvard Doctoral Candidate Maung Nyeu’s children’s books. These multilingual books are based on stories collected by children of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Bangladesh. The books contain moral and civic values and the wisdom of generations and help revitalize endangered languages and revive vanishing cultures.
Mittal Institute Visiting Artist, Faiham Ebna Sharif is a freelance journalist and photographer focusing on social issues in his home country of Bangladesh. During his time at Harvard, Faiham has been researching the world tea trade in Harvard’s museums and libraries
On Wednesday, April 4th, SAI hosted an opening reception for its Spring Art Exhibition, “Showcasing Research in South Asia Through Visual Arts.” It features 2D and 3D art and artifacts inspired by Harvard students who traveled to South Asia sponsored by Harvard SAI travel grants. The show was curated by Sheliza Jamal (Graduate School of Education) and Neeti Nayak (Graduate School of Design).
Former visiting fellow Hasna Moudud discusses her work, methodology, and travels through Mongolia along the Silk Road.
SAI is pleased to announce our 2018 Visiting Artists, who will be at Harvard from mid-March to mid-May. During their time at Harvard, the artists will display their work on campus, meet with students, attend courses, and give public seminars.