Social Inequalities Forum: "Indus economics: insights into egalitarian urbanism in South Asia’s first cities" by Adam Green (Cambridge University)

May 20, 2021 from 02:00 PM to 03:30 PM


Adam S. Green (Cambridge University) will give a talk on "Indus economics: insights into egalitarian urbanism in South Asia´s first cities" in the framework of the Social Inequalities Forum.

Water Buffalo - Green Paper Forum

Water Buffalo Seal from Banawali, Accession Number BNL13185 in the Banawali Section of the Central Antiquity Collection, Archaeological Survey of India. Special thanks to the Archaeological Survey of India.

Abstract: There was a remarkable lack of inequality in the Indus Civilisation, home to South Asia’s first cities and one of the world’s earliest Bronze Age societies. And yet, Indus settlements were expansive, numerous and planned, with a specialised and intensified agro-pastoral political economy that provided substantial benefits to a wide cross-section of people. The first excavators of the Indus civilisation were struck by its relative egalitarianism, but later generations of archaeologists tried to “normalise” the Indus by inventing questionable indirect proxies for inequality. After all, traditional theories of urbanisation suggest that the stratified distribution of wealth and power were prerequisites for specialised large-scale political economies. In this talk, I will review evidence for inequality in the Indus context, and through the analyses of data from both urban and rural settlements, explore how its absence may have impacted many different domains of Indus life. I argue that these patterns can help us test and refine a range of political economic theories about information, inequality, and governance. 


For more information and details please contact René Ohlrau

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