My anthropological research is called the Talking Streets™ and my ethnographic fieldwork is based amongst the multicultural communities of the French heritage town of Pondicherry, South India. Streets talk in various ways, literally through the tangible architectural design, but equally metaphorically, through the stories, oral histories and artistic Kolam floor designs. My aim is to understand the cross-cultural mapping of space and place and the local meaning of home by comparing the historical layout of 17th century cartographic maps of Pondicherry with 21st century locally designed community maps. This spatial mapping explores the way Hindu, Muslim, French and Christian residents collectively create a sense of place, religious and cultural identity by navigating through their Talking Streets today.
Text and image © 2013 Yasmin-Hales Henao