#TGBH (The Geography Behind History, August 30, 2014):

SynTalk thinks about the role of geography, ecology, biology & human behaviour behind history (both facts & principles). Did environmentally destructed land (like grasslands) lead to invasions? We discuss diverse phenomena such as invasions, climactic changes, agriculture, and burial rituals. Is genetics shaping and changing our collective perception of the past, and is there synchronicity in evolution? The concepts are derived off / from biology (Founder Effect, human genome sequence, single locus polymorphism, dispersal), history (Aryanisation), archaeology (Acheulean, Quaternary, Harappa, Chinese oracle bones), mythology (Vishnu Puranas, Kartikeya), geology (tectonic shift, Lonar Lake, ice-age) & ecology (Tundra, co-adaption), among others. Could the burial of a dead body have changed history and lead to the birth of art? What happened ~200,000 years ago, & how did modern humans evolve ~40,000 years ago? Why does mythology posit something impossible and then we try and make sense of it? We marvel at the link between cows, mango leaves, vitamin B, Indian yellow, ‘Pitambara’, frescoes, & heritage. How does some tribal marriage ritual involve ‘sunglasses’? Why don’t all modern humans produce art? The SynTalkrs are: Prof. Sheila Mishra (archaeology, Deccan College, Pune), Aman Nath (history, architecture, restoration, art, Neemrana Hotels, New Delhi), Anupam Sah (heritage conservation, CSMVS Museum Art Conservation Centre, Mumbai) & Prof. Milind Watve (evolutionary biology, IISER, Pune).

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

Prof. Sheila Mishra (pre-history, archaeology) holds a Ph.D. in Archaeology. Presently, she is the Professor & Head, Department of Archaeology at the Deccan College Post-Graduate Research Institute in Pune. Her main focus of research at present is to understand the role of the Indian subcontinent in the evolution of humans over the last 2 million years. Her research interests also include Palaeolithic Archaeology and Geoarchaeology. In these areas, she has published research papers in national and international journals, delivered several lectures in India and abroad, and directed excavation projects. She has a special interest in geomorphology (a scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them).

Aman Nath (history, arts, architecture, writing, poetry, photography) studied history but grew up to be a designer, architectural restorer and builder, as well as a writer on art, mythology and the corporate world. He has been actively involved in the restoration of India’s lesser-known historical properties. He co-founded the ‘Neemrana Hotels’ along with Francis Wacziarg. ‘Neemrana Hotels’ is a group of several historical forts, palaces & noble homes in India which have been restored and converted into modern day heritage hotels. Aman Nath is also one of the founder members of INTACH, a heritage and conservation organisation established in 1984. He had started his career as a copywriter and graphic designer in advertising. He has been the arts editor for India Today magazine and a curator of ‘Art Today’, an art gallery of India Today group. He has also co-written and authored thirteen large-format illustrated books on Indian arts, history, architecture, corporate biography and photography. He enjoys traveling and has contributed to several travel magazines.

Anupam Sah (heritage conservation, education) born in the Kumaoun Himalayas, is a heritage conservation-restoration practitioner, strategist and educator. He is the founding director of Anupam Heritage Lab and the Himalayan Society for Heritage and Art Conservation which are dedicated to various aspects related to preservation and development of cultural heritage. At Mumbai, Anupam heads the art conservation, research and training activities at the CSMVS Museum Art Conservation Centre that is being fast recognised as a leading institute in this field. Anupam works with a Systems Approach based on the inter relatedness of things and where judicious interventions at even apparently unrelated points in the networks can bring about desired impacts in the system. One of his prime interests is employing heritage conservation as a lever for development. He has been expert advisor and consultant to various national and international agencies and is recipient of the Sanskriti Award for Social and Cultural Achievement. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TIIP (The Ideas In Print)]

Prof. Milind Watve (biology, psychology) is a Professor of biology at IISER, Pune. His main research areas are microbiology, eco-biology and evolutionary biology. He has researched into diverse areas like bacteria cell division, predatory bacteria, behaviour of plasmids and mitochondria, pollination biology, and diseases of wild animal. He is also interested in human behaviour, health and evolutionary psychology. He has delivered several lectures both within and outside India. He has published research papers in prestigious journals and also contributed to course materials and text books. He holds five patents, has a keen interest in Marathi music and literature, and has curiosity about almost everything. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TATT (The Attempts To Team)]

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

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