Robert Levy’s Mesocosm, read with or against Benjamin’s Arcades Project

Room JHB 319, 2:00-4:00

Hosted by the DSR, supported by the Centre for South Asian Studies. Organizer and chair: Christoph Emmrich.

For having this reading group accredited as an independent reading course and for all other information, please contact Christoph Emmrich at

Religious Genealogies of Contemporary South Asia reading group programYou are invited to join a discussion of the “poetic imagination” of the city as proposed by one of the most creative and influential anthropologists of Nepal in his defining monograph on the Kathmandu Valley town of Bhaktapur. As we grapple with how to Bhaktapurians their city appears, in Levy’s words, “both strange and true”, participants will be encouraged to take Benjamin’s fragmented project on Paris as a companion to wonder about the phantasmagorical character of the city as inventory and to imagine what it would be like to be a flâneur in Bhaktapur.

Session 1: October 16, 2014, Introduction and Part One, Orientations and Contexts
Session 2: November 13, 2014, Part Two, The Construction of the Mesocosm (I), ch. 1-8
Session 3: January 8, 2015, Part Two, The Construction of the Mesocosm (II), ch. 9-13
Session 4: February 5, 2015, Part Two, The Construction of the Mesocosm (III), ch. 14-17
Session 5: March 19, 2015, Mesocosmic Paris or the Arcades of Bhaktapur

You can find Mesocosm online at;query=;brand=ucpress