Propinquity through dwelling: Living in evacuee properties after the Partition of India and Pakistan

Zahida Rehman Jatt, Erin P. Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How quickly can displaced peoples develop meaningful ties to new locations and what material forms facilitate such connections? In this paper, we provide a discussion of post-displacement topophilia (attachment to place). As a case study, we focus on the migration of the Sharif family who fled from India to Pakistan during the 1947 Partition. The Sharif family fundamentally lost their home and faced threats as they migrated past socio-politically opposed migrant groups moving in the opposite direction. They then resettled into the places abandoned by these “enemies” while these “enemies” resettled within the village they left behind. Through this example, we consider the effects of propinquity though dwelling—a closeness and empathy born from a shared familiarity with a dwelling place. We acknowledge that when multiple groups have ties to the same location, contention often ensues. However, we argue that when peoples become intimately familiar with one another’s dwelling spaces, the result is often mutual respect and understanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-96
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • 1947 Partition
  • South Asia
  • forced migration
  • refugee resettlement
  • topophilia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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