Vulnerability is strength.

The Subalternist Turn in Latin American Postcolonial Studies, or, Thinking in the Wake of What Went Down Yesterday (November 8, 2016) — by Gareth Williams

Gareth Williams evaluates the “subalternist turn” in Latin American postcolonial studies by seeing it through three of its variants. This paper is essential reading for those, particularly in South Asia and elsewhere, seeking to familiarize themselves with Latin American postcolonial and subaltern studies. It includes a comprehensive bibliography and key references to some of the most fundamental texts, theorists, philosophers and scholars who established multiple and distinct lines of inquiry in the field. Originally published in Política común (Volume 10, 2016) and reproduced here as is via CC 3.0.

Savage Warfare: Violence and the Rule of Colonial Difference in Early British Counterinsurgency — by Kim A Wagner

ABSTRACT: Even as a growing body of literature has in recent years revealed the ubiquity of racialized violence within Western colonies in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, another historical narrative remains insistent that the British Empire constituted a notable exception to the rule. This nostalgic narrative of a uniquely British ‘soft approach’ rests in part on the belief that colonial officers possessed a deep cultural understanding of the people and societies they dealt with, which allowed them to manoeuvre skilfully throughout the Empire without having to resort to the sort of atrocities that characterized German and Belgian colonies in Africa. The result is an implicitly sanitized account of the British Empire and of British military practice as exemplary and even humane. This article critically examines those assumptions, focusing in particular on the cultural knowledge that was weaponized during colonial conflicts in the decades preceding the First World War. The forms and functions of what became known as ‘savage warfare’ were not simply shaped by the tactical necessities of asymmetric fighting in the peripheries of Empire. Colonial military violence and the development of new technologies, such as the expanding Dum-Dum bullet, were based on deeply encoded assumptions concerning the inherent difference of local opponents and as such were underwritten by both imperial ideologies and a specific body of colonial expertise. The rule of colonial difference dictated and justified techniques of violence that were by the same token considered unacceptable in conflicts between so-called ‘civilized’ nations and, in many instances, slaughter was in fact the ‘British Way’ – in theory and in practice.

Performing the Hyphen — by Miki Seifert

The goal of this paper is to present a decolonising research methodology. The first section of this paper problematises western knowledge production, using Aníbal Quijano’s colonial matrix of power. The second section theorises how an epistemological pluralism that is critical, decolonising and performative could address western knowledge production and the colonial matrix of power. The third section discusses how this methodology has been applied to Butoh to develop Critical Butoh. The final section presents He rawe tona kakahu/ She wore a becoming dress, a Butoh performance exploring the intersection of gender and colonisation, as a practical application of this methodology.

Looking into Settler Colonialism through India’s Occupation of Kashmir — by Subhajit Pal

Inverse Journal presents Subhajit Pal’s academic paper on a key issue of interest within the present climate of uncertainty. In this paper written in November 2019, the young researcher attempts to study Kashmir within a settler colonial framework, while engaging with an initial comparative study that integrates core theoretical and academic research from other, and more widely studied, settler colonial societies (US, Australia, Israel). The fact that Pal finished writing this paper on November 27th, 2019, in the aftermath of the August 5th revocation of Article 370, adds to the greater interest readers may have towards its treatment of a subject that is currently being discussed in multiple academic circles and sections of the press.

Neoliberalism in Palestine and Kashmir: The Nakedness of Colonial Pretexts in the 21st Century — by Abdulla Moaswes

On this Nakba Day, Palestinian researcher and educator Abdulla Moaswes presents this article to draw parallels between India’s treatment of Kashmir (after the abrogation of Article 370) and Israel’s treatment of Palestine (after the Trump-Netanyahu “Deal of the Century” was announced). According to Moaswes, both events and their aftermath unabashedly reflect the “nakedness of colonial dehumanisation.” The writer explores “the relationship between capitalism, colonialism and dehumanisation” interplayed with nation-state driven “racism and securitisation” in the context of Palestine and Kashmir as occupied territories. The writer also addresses the manner in which “neoliberal economic logic is used by the colonial powers to justify the dehumanisation of Palestinians and Kashmiris” in the 21st century. This article is featured in our Academia section.

Orientalism, Kashmir and Islam — by Arsilan Aziz

Orientalism, Kashmir and Islam — by Arsilan Aziz

Through a brief yet meticulous study of Kashmiri history, particularly grounded in the different dealings that outsiders have had with a Kashmiri population, Arsilan Aziz presents this paper recounting how Kashmir began to figure in foreign imaginations through the optics of a peculiar orientalism. It was one that primarily targeted Kashmiri Muslims and maintained the one quality that makes orientalism what it is: the capacity to spread, through a genealogy of knowledge and power employed to caricature and characterize a dispossessed peoples, to then be passed on from generation to generation in non-linear ways in an attempt to maintain a lineage of power and supremacy. Aziz takes readers through carefully cited texts to validate his points while also referencing the work of notable scholars who have written about the portrayal of Kashmiris, and particularly Muslims, through that peculiar and abhorrent orientalist gaze. In doing so, Aziz unveils the manner in which such orientalist approaches to Kashmir manifest in contemporary times in mainstream Indian media, while remaining unchecked and unquestioned.

Student Protests. Three Periods of University Governance — by Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat and Bob Jeffery

Student Protests. Three Periods of University Governance — by Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat and Bob Jeffery

Exploring the idea of student protests as an autonomous object of research and discussion, this paper leads to the understanding that the transforming role of the university and its governance defines the possibilities for the political role of students. In this perspective, there is a particular constellation of the different forms of higher education governance that provides students with the right and even the responsibility of protesting as politically engaged citizens of the university and of the state. Approaching the transformation of the models of university governance as a set of archaeologically organised states this paper identifies the sequential roles provided to the students and the meaning of their protests and demonstrations. After visiting some antecedents of more contemporaneous student movements and protests, this paper focuses on the UK to explore three manifestations of university governance that can be roughly differentiated as the enduring democratic period that extends from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, the globalisation period that extends from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s and as the post-millennial turn. These periods, embodying three different styles of governance of higher education, not only demonstrate conformity with the political and economic contexts in which they are embedded, they also correspond to particular socio-technological and communicative ecosystems and determine the specificities of the role of the students and their capacity for political action.

Reading Discourses of Power and Violence in Emerging Kashmiri Literature in English: The Collaborator and Curfewed Night — by Amrita Ghosh

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.

Kashmir Conflict: Alarming Mental Health Consequences (2015) — by Nuzhat Firdous

Kashmir Conflict: Alarming Mental Health Consequences (2015) — by Nuzhat Firdous

This journal article by Nuzhat Firdous, published in The International Journal of Indian Psychology, is reproduced here via Creative Commons License. Abstract: “War damages the very fabric of the society. It not only damages its physical structure but also disrupts its entire social tissue, its environment and the normal routine of life for which people account several reasons. Kashmir has been witnessing a chronic socio-political unrest for the last two and a half decades now. The conflict has had an enormous impact on different aspects of Kashmir’s society. Indeed, there has been a colossal damage to the property and infrastructure; however, its impact can be felt nowhere more than on the mental health of the people of Kashmir. Deliberating upon the human suffering, the conflict has not only left thousands dead and orphaned, unleashed and unmitigated violence on women and children, but the alarming increase in the psychiatric morbidity in general, is among the worst possible forms of suffering. This paper thus attempts to give an up-to-date description of the current mental health scenario and ensuing physiological and behavioural implications among the people of Kashmir.”

#TheKashmirSyllabus - A List of Sources for Teaching and Learning about Kashmir

#TheKashmirSyllabus - A List of Sources for Teaching and Learning about Kashmir

Our readers have been asking about reading material to better understand what far too many Kashmiris have bitterly and desolately called The Forgotten Conflict.  As such, and now more than ever, the following embedded Google Doc titled #TheKashmirSyllabus is a course plan with weekly readings compiled by Kashmir scholars and experts from multiple fields of knowledge and with years and decades of experience in research, writing and scholarship on the topic of Kashmir and its unresolved history. The result are readings and resources from a diverse field of academic knowledge called Kashmir Studies. The document is featured in our Academia section and is embedded directly from its original source such that any updates and changes will be reflected immediately.

Rereading Cortázar’s Hopscotch through Joyce’s Ulysses by Dr. Patricia Novillo-Corvalán

Rereading Cortázar’s Hopscotch through Joyce’s Ulysses by Dr. Patricia Novillo-Corvalán

Introduction: “In 1968 a distinguished group of writers, critics, and translators organised a symposium in post-revolutionary Cuba in an attempt to assess the colossal impact that Julio Cortázar’s groundbreaking novel Rayuela (1963) (Hopscotch; 1966) had had in the Latin American literary arena.1 If the rationale behind the forum was to underline the uniqueness and innovativeness of a work that had shaken the foundations of Latin American literature, then the speakers soon realised that Cortázar’s masterpiece could only be approached, ironically, from the perspective of an even greater revolutionary work, James Joyce’s Ulysses. While Cortázar’s Hopscotch remained at the heart of the literary debate, the haunting figure of Joyce became a ubiquitous and inescapable ghostly presence that materialised, time and again, in the eloquent and dazzling performances of the speakers. The comparison of Hopscotch with Modernism’s most revered monument laid the ground for a vigorous debate that would have a long-lasting effect on ensuing critical insights of Hopscotch.2 How, then, was the phantom of Joyce summoned in a symposium in Havana dedicated to pay tribute to the path-breaking novel of an Argentine author?”

Resisting Occupation: A Teach-in on Kashmir at The People's Forum NYC

Resisting Occupation: A Teach-in on Kashmir at The People's Forum NYC

Professors Mohamad Junaid and Hafsa Kanjwal do a teach-in at The People’s Forum NYC to give an introduction to Indian Occupied Kashmir while also providing the necessary historical context to those not aware of the oldest standing conflict in modern history. Starting from a ‘101’ on Kashmir, its people, its history, its political situation, the rise of resistance to occupation till the present time, the teach-in very effectively covers many aspects ignored in the global media. The presenters/instructors elaborate possibilities for a solution and specify ways to build global solidarity for the people of Kashmir. 

The Language of Islamophobia in Internet Articles — by Haja Mohideen and Shamimah Mohideen

The Language of Islamophobia in Internet Articles — by Haja Mohideen and Shamimah Mohideen

In this paper originally published in 2008, Dr. Haja Mohideen (Associate Professor) and Shamimah Mohideen (Lecturer) from the International Islamic University of Malaysia evaluate the impact of specific words, key terms, phrases and names (used in internet media) in propagating Islamophobia. Eleven years later, this paper is as relevant as ever  in providing a perspective on how things have progressed, regressed, stayed the same and even worsened along the same tangents of intolerance that mark the widespread, unquestioned legitimization and acceptance of Islamophobia at the level of ordinary language. Given that the paper was produced more than a decade ago, it engages with basic definitions, historical context and background information as well as multiple citations from media outlets and people of great influence from the 2000s era. In doing so, the paper reveals how there is a linear and constantly escalating pattern of perceptions grounded in ordinary language used in the media to intensify Islamophobic sentiments with certain keywords, phrases and names contextualized and consistently stressed upon to perpetuate animosity towards Muslims through a process of toxic othering that on the surface appears to be subtle, unassuming and neutral.

In Pursuit of a Nation: Conflicting Formulations of Nationalism in the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir (1930 – 1940) — by Gowhar Yaqoob

In Pursuit of a Nation: Conflicting Formulations of Nationalism in the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir (1930 – 1940) — by Gowhar Yaqoob

Abstract: This paper explores the different constitutive elements of nationalist ideology in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in the twentieth century by placing it in the social and political context. Here, I analyze two strands of nationalist discourse in the region in the time of its emergence – first, a response to the trends that reinforced centralized urban empowerment as evident in the writings of Prem Nath Bazaz and the second, articulation of nationalist ideology built around Kashmiri language aiming at empowering the non-urban, marginal social groups by Abdul Ahad Azad. Bazaz deployed print newspaper in the Urdu language as a significant means to create a nationalist consciousness and suggest electoral politics as a characteristic feature of a democratic state. Whereas, Abdul Ahad Azad saw in writing a history of Kashmiri language- the mother-tongue- and promotion of linguistic nationalism as a potential means to bring socio-economic and political change through revolution.

California Dreaming: Gabriela Mistral’s Lucid Cold War Paranoia — by Elizabeth Horan

California Dreaming: Gabriela Mistral’s Lucid Cold War Paranoia — by Elizabeth Horan

Abstract: “Gabriela Mistral’s boundary crossing strategized and anticipated multiple shifting dynamics during the early years of the Cold War. Border-crossings prove relevant to the method of triangulation deployed throughout this study. As a method, triangulation draws from multiple kinds of measures, relating correspondence to interviews, historical maps and photographs, survey data, consular reports and more. From this combination of theory, method, and sources a biographical narrative develops that is at once accurate (to compensate for an ongoing stream of poorly-edited, inaccurately transcribed or attributed materials) and an intimate reflection on Gabriela Mistral’s “paranoia” in post WW II era California. This study of Mistral’s life and work in California from 1946-1948 reveals her experience of borders as personally empowering within the consular service, where help from nearby Mexico countered the hostilities from Santiago. Her condition as a mestiza-identified Chilean citizen with substantial international experience made her cognizant of the tensions along borders, which enhanced her understanding of race in the United States and Mexico. Harnessing the power of borders and her contacts with the media, Mistral effectively countered and undermined patriarchal and colonial power structures that sought to control and silence her.”

Communitarianism: A Critical Appraisal — by Insha bint Bashir

Communitarianism: A Critical Appraisal — by Insha bint Bashir

In this academic paper, Insha bint Bashir summarizes the evolution of ideas and relevant scholarship around the concept of communitarianism, reviewing a wide variety of literature and multiple debates around the topic.

Abstract: Communitarianism has emerged as an alternative framework for dealing with the moral conflicts and social tensions emanating from homogeneous nation-states and rising cultural intolerance around us. The contemporary scholarship on communitarianism has put much of its focus on the social individual, community, political society, the processes of social construction, and the communal realization of social and individual values. This paper attempts to look at the basis of communitarianism that emerged in the last decades of the twentieth century. While maintaining its focus on the critical appraisal of communitarianism, the paper concludes with the analysis of how communitarianism can emerge as an alternative in the discourses on political theory.