Outside of Digital Marketing, traveling and bird-watching, my interests include reading and learning more about the history (and geography) of key cultural movements. It has always fascinated me as to why the Renaissance took place in Italy, the Industrial Revolution kicked off in Britain and so on. Moving forward, the counter-culture of the 1960’s was one of the first ‘key cultural movement’ that I became aware of, largely due to my choice of music leading me to bands such as Jefferson Airplane, Yardbirds and more. So it just felt right that the first place I visited outside of India was San Francisco where I went to the famous ‘Haight-Ashbury’ district.
However, as I write the above, I realise that it’s strictly not true. The first international cultural movement I was aware of was the hippie movement. This was because I had close family living in Goa in the 1990s. We used to visit them regularly and could still come across stragglers of the movement on the beaches of North Goa.
I recently read a book about Ernest Hemmingway’s time in Paris, and that piqued my curiosity about that era. It was while reading more about this era that I learned more about the Roaring 20’s. It was the age of significant and unprecedented change in culture, music, fashion and more. Paris seemed to have been the place where all the action took place.
Other movements of the past century include the Beat Generation of the 1950s and 60s. Interestingly, one of the places where key figures of this movement lived in was Tangier in Morocco.
It will be fascinating to read more about these movements, understand why, where and how they evolved and why did they peter out. That’s my reading list for the next few weeks and months!
Photo Credit:Vasilios Muselimis
No sooner had I finished writing my previous article on the Geography of History than I came across a few articles that explore the Geography of Culture:
- A Painter on a Paris Pilgrimage – This article wonderfully explores the key role of Paris in the art movement of the last 19th and early 20th Centuries. I wish I had read about this before my visit to this City of Light. I had stayed very close to Montparnasse and would have loved to visit some of the places mentioned in this article.
- Sleuthing Through Feluda’s Kolkata – While Satyajit Ray is more famous globally as a cinema director, his books are equally famous in India. In this article, the author explores the different places in Kolkata mentioned in Satyajit Ray’s books about Feluda, the detective.
- Where James Bond Was Born – Though I cannot really be considered a fan of the famous British spy, I did not know till I read this article about the Portuguese connection that led to Ian Fleming creating the famous character.
As a school student, Geography was my favourite subject. I used to (and still like to) spend time poring over a map, locating geographical features, studying the various places, etc. More recently, I have started developing a greater interest in History. And one of the topics that fascinates me is trying to understand the geographical features of places that feature prominently in History.
Is there anything in the geography of Italy that inspired the Renaissance? Or the Industrial Revolution in Western Europe? Going further back, what about all the great historical kingdoms of Southern India that spread their influence right across South East Asia? These are some of the questions that fascinate me.
So it was interesting to come across this interview with William Dalrymple, the historian who has written a series of books about the recent history of India. In this interview, he speaks about why it is important for him to visit the places that are to feature in the books he is working on.
I believe it will be an interesting topic to explore further and intend to dedicate some time on this. Let’s see how far I get!