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.
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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.
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.
Through a wide array of ideas applied from political science, anthropology, contemporary philosophy, and critical theory, Ruhail Andrabi presents an extensive paper that interrogates the impact of geopolitical conflict, militarization, and occupation on education in Kashmir. The result of such inquiries describes multiple problems and fissures within a Kashmiri education system that is steeped in a politically charged environment, yet somehow magically detached from it. Andrabi takes on the ambitious task of unearthing that ‘magical detachment’ within this paper.
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.”
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.