This article traces various social media expressions during the ongoing pandemic and asks the overarching question: how should one understand, express and practice compassion and empathy in this new context of global – yet differential and graded – uncertainty, loss and suffering? It focuses on the unfamiliar shift of entire populations across the globe from physical, tangible spaces to a virtual, online presence and the consequent issue of what norms, rules and ethics govern this online area of expression and action during a pandemic. Caught between an either-or narrative between a display of privileged quarantine living, a sense of empathy for the marginalized or a downright lack of it, the article observes that social media responses to the pandemic produce a ‘competitive performative compassion.’ It argues that such compassion becomes fetishist and results in the very thing that the expressed compassion was meant to counter, that is, continued unequal suffering. This article was first published in Lund University, SASNET journal Chakra: A Nordic Journal of South Asian Studies, Special Issue: Articulations of a Pandemic (2020 ISSN 1652-0203) and is published here via permission by the author.
On Frantz Fanon, Postcolonial and Middle Eastern Studies, and Palestine and Kashmir — Anthony Alessandrini in Conversation with Amrita Ghosh
Dr. Amrita Ghosh presents the transcript for an exclusive interview and conversation with Professor Anthony Alessandrini (City University of New York, USA) conducted on October 28, 2020, as a part of a MA course on Postcolonial theory that Dr. Ghosh taught during Fall 2020 as a visiting lecturer at Linnaeus University (LNU). The transcript is the result of an online conversation on Decolonization, Fanon, Middle Eastern Studies and multiple commentaries that include Professor Alessandrini’s views on Palestine and Kashmir. Inverse Journal has included a list of relevant links for those interested in engaging further with Professor Alessandrini’s work, research and academic writing.
Postdoctoral researcher Amrita Ghosh interviews Gurminder K Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies (at University of Sussex) about the relevance of postcolonial and decolonial studies and the importance of the anticolonial in relation to these. The discussion expands into greater considerations about ‘modernity’ and colonialism from a contemporary perspective in the context of books written by Professor Bhambra. The interview brings forth many important ideas to readers, both familiar and unfamiliar with such concepts, drawing connections to substantial research required to dialogue with such ideas and their use in various fields of knowledge, particularly historiography and the social sciences. This interview was previously published in the Winter 2019 issue of “Cerebration: The Literary Journal.”
Reading Discourses of Power and Violence in Emerging Kashmiri Literature in English: The Collaborator and Curfewed Night — by Amrita Ghosh
Abstract: This essay studies two literary texts on Kashmir, The Collaborator (2011) by Mirza Waheed and Curfewed Night (2010) by Basharat Peer and analyzes the discourses of power and covert and overt forms of violence that the works present. It first contextualizes events from the last three years that have occurred in Kashmir to present forms of violence Kashmiri subjects undergo in the quotidian of life. Thereafter, it situates the two works by the Kashmiri writers in the growing body of writing in English on Kashmir and historicizes the conflict. The essay, thus, argues that the selected literary works represent Kashmir as a unique postcolonial conflict zone that defies an easy terminology to understand the onslaught of violence, and the varied forms of power. As analyzed in the article, one finds a curious merging of biopolitics and necropolitics that constructs the characters as “living dead” within this emergency zone. For this, the theoretical trajectory of the essay is mapped out to show the transition from Foucault and Agamben’s idea of biopolitics to Mbembe’s concept of necropolitics. Thereafter, essay concludes how the two texts illustrate Agamben’s notion of the bare life is not enough to understand subjects living in this unique postcoloniality. The presence of death and the dead bodies go beyond bare life and shows how that bodies become significant signifiers that construct a varied notion of agency.