The Values of Independent Hip-Hop in the Post-Golden Era: Hip-Hop’s Rebels (2019, Palgrave Macmillan) — by Christopher Vito

Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, this book uncovers the historical trajectory of U.S. independent hip-hop in the post-golden era, seeking to understand its complex relationship to mainstream hip-hop culture and U.S. culture more generally. Christopher Vito analyzes the lyrics of indie hip-hop albums from 2000-2013 to uncover the dominant ideologies of independent artists regarding race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and social change. These analyses inform interviews with members of the indie hip-hop community to explore the meanings that they associate with the culture today, how technological and media changes impact the boundaries between independent and major, and whether and how this shapes their engagement with oppositional consciousness. Ultimately, this book aims to understand the complex and contradictory cultural politics of independent hip-hop in the contemporary age.

“Nothing moved except the mirage”: Analysing Fear and Freedom in Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail — by Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee

Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee presents an academic paper that is also a book review for Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s 2020 novel, “Minor Detail” (New Directions). A finalist for the National Book Award, “Minor Detail” is one of the most relevant works of contemporary Palestinian literature that connects 1949 and the Nakba with present day Palestine—as its protagonist digs into the past to uncover horrific truths. Mukherjee’s response and writing on the novel and its many themes is essential to understanding the greater depth to be found in decades of Israeli occupation over Palestinian land and life. The academic not only includes relevant criticism within this piece but also integrates theoretical formulations and observations by various scholars and thinkers that are pertinent to her own readings, such that through her ‘book-review-as-academic-paper’ one gets access to entire bodies and fields of knowledge, from postcolonial theory to resistance literature. Just as “Minor Detail” tells the story of a people and their larger history by means of a protagonist, Dr. Mukherjee’s paper offers multiple vectors of understanding in order to facilitate incisive critical engagement with this recent work of Palestinian literature.

Prajnya Gender Talks: Muslim Women, Agency and Resistance in Kashmir — by Dr. Inshah Malik

Dr. Inshah Malik speaks in relative detail about her monograph, “Muslim Women, Agency and Resistance Politics: The Case of Kashmir” (Palgrave Pivot, 2019). The book presents a considerable volume of research and knowledge about the agency of Muslim Kashmiri women and their varied roles in forming and shaping resistance, a subject that has been undermined, if not ignored, in the global arena of academic writing. As such, this seminal text serves to break multiple stereotypes and myths, while uncovering the history of a multifarious resistance by Kashmiri women, whether against state control, patriarchy (both militarized and societal) or political repression. As a visiting professor, Dr. Malik also gave a related lecture on the subject for the South Asia Center at the University of Washington earlier last year. Relevant links included.

The Animal Touch — by Mubashir Karim

While evaluating the writings of various philosophers and theorists like Jacques Derrida and Donna Haraway, Mubashir Karim presents an extensive paper that considers the central role that animals play in celebrated works of literature and film. From Chekhov’s “Misery,” Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi’s “The Cow,” Maile Meloy’s “Travis B.” among others, to film adaptations by Dariush Mehrjui and Kelly Reichardt, the Kashmiri academic traces the connections between stories and films where animals find a prominent place. The resulting study weaves multiple theoretical, critical and philosophical formulations by leading thinkers on the subject of animals. Karim brings in his own observations and interpretations to present a world of fiction and film where animals humanize humans further or retrieve their humanity by entering their plane of existence to create greater depth within it.

Possible selves of a hashtag: Moving from the theory of speech acts to cultural objects to interpret hashtags — by Gevisa La Rocca

Abstract: In recent years hashtag studies have increased their numbers. The role of hashtags becomes increasingly predominant in social media studies. Many researchers wonder how to study them, ending up treating them in an aggregate way and turning to big data and static-mathematical modeling. This type of studies seem to consider hashtags as tools, favoring a single analysis perspective. In fact, the studies and the research carried out in the field of social media deal with what users do with hashtags. This paper wishes to propose a different perspective. The question raised here is not “what users do with hashtags,” but “what they do to hashtags.” This theoretical approach presupposes a change in the perspective based on the reading of hashtags as speech acts, which impacts the construction of social reality and identifies hashtags as cultural products. This interpretative path of cultural nature seems to be necessary in order to be able to look at the hashtag as a concept that changes its meaning through human interaction. The consequence of inserting this perspective is that the hashtag becomes a multidimensional concept, which in order to be analyzed must be decomposed and analyzed in all its possible dimensions. If the aim of the research is to reconstruct the sense and meaning of the hashtag.

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

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.

Economic Activity and Labour Mobility Amidst a Rising Pandemic: When Is It Possible and Safe in India? — by Dr. Javaid Iqbal Khan and Dhaar Mehak

Economic Activity and Labour Mobility Amidst a Rising Pandemic: When Is It Possible and Safe in India? — by Dr. Javaid Iqbal Khan and Dhaar Mehak

Economists Dr. Javaid Iqbal and Dhaar Mehak present a timely short paper that articulates relevant questions about striking a balance between strategically resumed “economic activity” in its relation to “labour mobility.” In doing so, the two academics provide feasible strategies and approaches that could keep India from receding into an economic collapse.

On Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies: An Interview with Gurminder K Bhambra — by Amrita Ghosh

On Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies: An Interview with Gurminder K Bhambra — by Amrita Ghosh

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.”

January 19, 1990: An Empty Signifier — by Mohd. Tahir Ganie

January 19, 1990: An Empty Signifier — by Mohd. Tahir Ganie

In this essay, Kashmiri research scholar Mohd. Tahir Ganie approaches the symbolic date of January 19, 1990 from a broader view of recent Kashmiri history. In doing so, Ganie problematizes the manner in which a narrow and oversimplified narrative has been developed around a date that has become “an empty signifier.”

The ‘New Mainstream’ and the Politics of Jammu and Kashmir — by Javid Ahmad Ahanger

The ‘New Mainstream’ and the Politics of Jammu and Kashmir — by Javid Ahmad Ahanger

Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger, who specializes in Political Science with a focus on Kashmir, presents this article underlining the multiple possibilities for the political future of the multi-party system in Kashmir’s political landscape under Indian rule. The article discusses the emergence of key political parties that served under India’s dominion and the various stakeholders at a critical juncture when a new political framework is yet to be defined after the August 5th (2019) abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A.

Official Provisional Biography — APDP Kashmir (Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons)

Official Provisional Biography — APDP Kashmir (Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons)

Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP Kashmir) recently released their official provisional biography that relates the journey of parents, family members, relatives and friends of victims subjected to enforced disappearance over the last three decades. The total number of enforced disappearances in Kashmir is estimated to be between 8000 to 10,000 people. After three decades, their loved ones still seek justice and answers as to their whereabouts. The document titled “The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Kashmir: A Provisional Biography of a Journey Towards Justice for the Enforced Disappeared” is authored by Dr. Goldie Osuri (University of Warwick) and Iffat Fatima (Filmmaker), with support from APDP Consultant Shahid Malik and a team of APDP volunteers. The document is embedded here directly from APDP’s official website and references important texts and relevant research produced by members of the community.

Cryptopolitics and Cyberpoetics: Facebook Pages as Memory Portals — by Ananya Jahanara Kabir

Cryptopolitics and Cyberpoetics: Facebook Pages as Memory Portals — by Ananya Jahanara Kabir

This paper by Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir (presented earlier at the 2014 MLA convention in Chicago) is required reading for those interested in understanding the importance of freedom of expression manifest through basic access to internet. As of now, internet access is severely restricted in Kashmir after a total blockade of nearly six months, with the state now allowing 2G speed access to only 301 websites (most of them government ones). Jahanara Kabir’s paper prompts relevant and important questions about censorship, blockade in a material and virtual sense, when even mourning, remembrance and commemoration are prohibited to an entire Kashmiri population (whether online or offline). This work is licensed and reproduced here under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, and remains ever so important since its presentation at the 2014 Modern Language Association’s convention in Chicago, aptly themed “Vulnerable Times?”

Marx and Feminism — by Silvia Federici

Marx and Feminism — by Silvia Federici

This contribution focuses on aspects of feminism and gender in Marx’s theory. Marx’s methodology has given us the tools and the categories enabling us to think together gender and class, feminism and anti-capitalism. However, his contribution is an indirect one because Marx never developed a theory of gender. It is important to include the role of reproductive labour, slave labour, migrant labour, labour in the Global South and the unemployed in the critical analysis of capitalism and its division of labour. Reproductive labour is the largest activity on this planet and a major ground of divisions within the working class.

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.

Knowledge is like Teher.
A handful of cooked rice
a humble offering
to ward off the grief
from an entire century.
Whosoever receives Teher
does so with blessings
and well wishes.
Today the T in Teher
is the T in Taaleem
just as the K in Kashmir
is the K in your name.
From Teōtīhuacān to Tral
we make a humble offering.

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