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Symposium to explore origins, design, impact of the Tata Nano automobile

Speakers and panel discussions will address issues ranging from climate change to design raised by the Tata Nano -- a small, inexpensive (under $2,500) automobile with potentially monumental physical, cultural and societal impacts on the Indian subcontinent and beyond -- at a symposium March 10-11.

Hosted by the College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP), the symposium, "Unpacking the Nano: The Price of the World's Most Affordable Car," will be held in conjunction with the exhibition "Unpacking the Nano," on display through March 27 at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

Arjun Appadurai, professor of media, culture and communication at New York University, will give the keynote address, "What Does the Nano Want? Design as a Tool for Future-building," March 10 at 4 p.m. in Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall. After his address, Appadurai will join Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata '59, B.Arch. '62; Cornell President David Skorton and AAP Dean Kent Kleinman for a discussion of the Nano. Kleinman co-directed the "Unpacking the Nano" exhibition project with visiting assistant professor of architecture Aleksander Mergold, B.Arch. '00.

Many of the social and cultural impacts unleashed by the Nano stem from putting car ownership within reach of much of India's large population.

"A possible consequence of people having auto mobility means they could occupy the country in a completely different way, no matter where they live or work," Kleinman said in January.

Panel discussions, March 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in 105 Ives Hall, are:

The panels will be followed by a closing keynote, "Storytelling in the City," by New York University journalism professor Suketa Mehta, 5 p.m. in 305 Ives Hall, with discussant Durba Ghosh, Cornell associate professor of history.

Media Contact

Blaine Friedlander