#TPKT (The Places Knotted Together, July 21, 2018):

How far are you? ‘What’ is a place? Are they a moment of ‘realized’ relationships? Are (say) air pollution, hospitals, hydraulic systems, temperature, diseases, real estate prices, and species distributed similarly spatially? Does it take a lot of work to make a place? What does it mean for places to be similar? Have we always been placed the same way? Why aren’t there tigers in Sri Lanka? Are habitats and species always strongly correlated? Might India be closer to Madagascar than Africa in some respects? Can geological history be inferred from phylogeny? Can noise have a spatial structure? Is all data spatiotemporal, & does proximity (often) strongly imply relatedness? Are real estate prices continuous? Are context and history key to understanding spatiality? Are interactions and relations primary, & location or identity secondary? Do cities emerge to manage (or control?) exchanges at scale? When are places hybrids? Why do Gaussian processes work for multidimensional interpolation? Can we understand spatial dependences better? Would there be fewer places in the future? Would places remain tied to the notion of permanence, and the ‘pretence’ continue? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from anthropology (Dr. Nikhil Anand, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia), statistics (Prof. Sudipto Banerjee, UCLA, Los Angeles), & biogeography (Dr. K. Praveen Karanth, IISc, Bangalore).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TPKT show.

Dr. Nikhil Anand (anthropology) is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Prior to this, he has also taught at University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, USA) and Haverford College (Haverford, USA). He was also appointed as Wolfensohn Family Member, School of Social Science, Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), Princeton from 2013 to 2014. Dr. Anand received his B.A. (Biology – Environmental Studies) from Reed College (Portland, USA). He then completed his Masters in Environmental Science from Yale University (USA) and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University (USA). His research focuses on the political ecology of cities, read through the different lives of water. His first book, ‘Hydraulic City’ explores the everyday ways in which cities and citizens are made through the everyday management of water infrastructure in Mumbai. Articles based on this research have also been published in Antipode, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography and Public Culture. Dr. Anand is co-editor of a forthcoming volume (with Hannah Appel and Akhil Gupta), ‘The Promise of Infrastructure’ (Duke University Press), that focuses on the ways in which infrastructure provides a generative ground to theorize time and politics. His new work attends to the ways in which urban rivers and seas are key sites for the making and management of difference in India and the United States. He has been invited to lecture at multiple universities such as Stockholm University (Sweden), University of Basel (Switzerland), & Johns Hopkins University (USA). Dr. Anand has received multiple awards & grants including Honorable Mention, James M. Blaut Award for the Best Book in Cultural and Political Ecology (for Hydraulic City) by the American Association of Geographers (2018), Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship by Wenner Gren Foundation (2012), & International Dissertation Research Fellowship by Social Science Research Council (New York, 2007-2008).

Prof. Sudipto Banerjee (statistics) is Professor and Chair at the Department of Biostatistics, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA. His research interests include statistical modeling and analysis of geographically referenced datasets, Bayesian statistics (theory and methods) and hierarchical modeling, & statistical computing and related software development. Prof. Banerjee attended Presidency College (Kolkata) for his undergraduate studies, and completed his Masters in Statistics from Indian Statistical Institute (ISI, Kolkata). He then moved to the USA and obtained an M.S. and Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Connecticut. Prior to UCLA, he worked at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities, USA) where he was associated with the School of Public Health for 14 years. Prof. Banerjee has published close to 100 research papers in journals such as Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Environmental and Ecological Statistics, Biometrics, Journal of Statistical Software, Ecology Letters, Annals of Applied Statistics, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, & Journal of Intercultural Studies. He has published three books, titled, ‘Hierarchical Modeling and Analysis for Spatial Data’ (2nd ed.), ‘Linear Algebra and Matrix Analysis for Statistics’, and ‘Handbook of Spatial Epidemiology’. Prof. Banerjee has received multiple awards and recognitions including Abdel El Sharaawi Young Researcher Award from The International Environmetrics Society (2009), Elected member of International Statistical Institute (2010), Mortimer Spiegelman Award from the Statistics Section of the American Public Health Association (2011), Elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA, 2012), Elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS, 2015), and the Distinguished Achievement Medal from ASA Section on Statistics and the Environment (2015).

Dr. K. Praveen Karanth (biogeography) is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He is a phylogenetic biologist interested in studying genetic variation both within species (population genetics) and among species (phylogenetics) to address questions in ecology, evolution, behavior and conservation biology. Dr. Karanth competed his B.Sc. (Agriculture) from University of Agricultural Sciences (Bangalore), and then received his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, from the Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York (Albany), USA. He also did postdoctoral work at Haifa University (Israel) and Yale University (USA). His research lab at CES (IISc) is primarily concerned with finding answers to problems in biology within an evolutionary framework (i.e., through the use of molecular phylogenies). His areas of research are character evolution, molecular systematics, phylogeography, and biogeography, with specialization in historical biogeography, and species delimitation using molecular tools. In addition he is also interested in population and conservation genetics. At his lab he employs a range of systems such as langurs, geckos, butterflies, tarantulas and centipedes. Dr. Karanth has published more than 50 articles in journals such as Zootaxa, Current Science, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Salamandra, Organisms Diversity and Evolution, Animal Behaviour, Contributions to Zoology, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Journal of Biosciences, International Journal of Primatology, & Conservation Genetics. He is on the editorial board of  ‘Journal of Genetics’ and was also the member of IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group from 2009 to 2012. He has also given talks/presentations at multiple institutions such as, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mizoram University, French Institute (Pondicherry), & ICTS (Bangalore).

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TPKT mentionsEuclid, John Locke, & Waldo Tobler, among others.