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Workshop: A Nation and its Fault Lines, organised by Isha Dubey and Amrita Ghosh

A Nation and its Fault Lines Poster
A Nation and its Fault Lines, workshop February 25, 2022

SASNET will host a one-day workshop – A Nation and its Fault Lines – on February 25, 2022. Jointly conceptualised and organised by SASNET-affiliated researchers Amrita Ghosh and Isha Dubey, the workshop constitutes the culminating event of their work at SASNET on the interconnected themes of postcolonial conflict zones, protracted displacement, historical trauma and memory politics in modern and contemporary South Asia through the lens of the Kashmir conflict, Partition and the Bangladesh War of 1971.

Structured along the central theme of fault lines of the nation in South Asia, the workshop is divided into three parts. We begin with a panel discussion wherein Amrita and Isha, along with invited speakers Dr. Humera Iqbal (UCL), Dr. Anushay Malik (Simon Fraser University) and Dr. Asiya Zahoor (Cornell University), present and discuss their works in progress among each other as well as in plenum.

Through this discussion the idea is to bring out from different and overlapping foci the complexities inherent in the ways the region articulates, negotiates with and resists the ever-present and looming impact of historical and structural fault lines (both literal and metaphorical) etched upon its socio-political fabric. Both Amrita and Asiya will be talking about Kashmir as a postcolonial conflict zone and the ways in which literature and poetry coming out form the region becomes a site of memory, a tool of resistance and a possible channel for reconciliation.

Ghosh studies new literary productions from Kashmir’s conflict zone and argues about a different kind of violence that affects the subjectivity in ways that become narratives of horror. Her talk focuses on violence in the margins of the postcolonial nation state and how it affects people. Asiya, approaches the conflict in Kashmir through the lens of the ‘long Partition’ and uses both poetry and oral testimony to examine the nature of the collective, historical trauma inflected by it.

Isha Dubey’s talk will focus on the manifestations of Muhajir narratives of belonging, otherness, nostalgia and alienation in Pakistan and the then East Pakistan in literature and mediums such as the newspaper. Through this discussion on the Muhajir experience of dislocation and disorientation emanating both from the act of migration from India as well as from their negotiations with the reality of the land they had ‘chosen’ as their home, Dubey draws attention to the fault lines induced by Partition-related migration spread across three countries.

Finally, Humera Iqbal and Anushay Malik will present initial findings from their project Partition of Identity which examines the Bengali community in Pakistan and the ways in which it straddles the dual aspects of their identity as Bengalis and Pakistanis on an everyday basis.

Keynote by Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir, poster
Keynote talk by Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir

The panel discussion will be followed by the keynote address by Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir (King’s College London). In her talk, she will bring together theories of pastoral and her concept of ‘alegropolitics’, or the politics of embodied and collective joy, to address the question of the possibility of experiencing happiness, sexual freedom and personal fulfilment while navigating the everyday lived reality of inhabiting a conflict zone. In doing so, Prof. Kabir opens-up the idea of fault lines beyond the physical and metaphorical to include those of emotions and mentalities and the politics inherent in them.

Le thennai Kreyol, poster
Le thennai Kreyol

The workshop will conclude with a one-hour program – Le thennai Kreyol. Co-founded by Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir and the French novelist Ari Gautier in 2020, it is a multi-lingual online (since the pandemic) cultural platform that promotes their vision for a plural and creolised India.

For the purpose of the workshop, the Le thennai, comprising of both a physical and virtual audience, takes the form of an adda on the theme of ‘négrodalitalité’, the title of a new cycle of poems written by Ari with an introduction and translation by Ananya, to appear in the December 2021 edition of the Italian journal ‘Il Tolomeo’. It aims to explore the intersectionality of caste, race, and language in South Asia (and beyond) – all of which separately and cumulatively constitute its multifarious, entangled fault lines that is the overarching intention of the workshop to foreground and emphasise.

If you have any questions regarding the workshop, please email isha [dot] dubey [at] sasnet [dot] lu [dot] se or amrita [dot] ghosh [at] sasnet [dot] lu [dot] se