Mohamad Junaid, City University of New York Graduate Center; doctoral candidate
Title: Tehreek History-writers of Kashmir: Reconstructing Memory at the Margins of Postcolonial Empire
Abstract: How does the biography of the postcolonial nation-state appear to peoples who live in its neocolonized margins in the present? ‘Postcolonial condition’ has mostly been examined by scholars from global metropoles, from within postcolonial-national centers, or in diaspora. The spatial and political location of this critical scholarship is structured by the disjunctive as well as the dialogic arc posited between the former colonizers and the formerly colonized-now multiply situated subjects. While this location produces invaluable insights into the unacknowledged forms of experience and knowledge within the postcolony, as well as re-inscribes the constitutive heterogeneity of the postcolonial publics, it tends to internally replicate the invisibilities and silences often associated with the scopic and the epistemic regimes of colonial-imperial historiography. How do we understand the contention of those who sense a colonial déjà vu in comprehending their current situation? The presentation explores this question through the work of contemporary ‘history-writers’ in Kashmir who question the foundational claims of the Indian state’s control over Kashmir, and whose writings have emerged in contestation with the official nationalist accounts. Their writing is shaped by the continuing experience of living under a ‘legally’-mandated regime of military occupation. What perspectives are produced through writing that emerges from within such spaces?