The Politics of Life and Death

Post/Decolonial Encounters, Palestinians, Kashmiris, And Tamils


The symposium engages intersecting imaginaries and histories that impact Palestinians, Kashmiris, and Tamils. Complex modes of power and history structure conquest, appropriation, and occupation across shifting colonial, (post)colonial, and decolonial moments. Peoples and landscapes are witness to monumental partitions, erasures, and Nakbas (catastrophes), producing states of exception organized through securitization, majoritarianism, and militarism. The symposium is concerned with issues of subjugation, minoritization, and racialization; and persistent efforts to articulate/silence truth and practice resistance, freedom, and self-determination. We draw on the efforts of native-local and allied intellectuals, activists, artists, and scholars of colonized peoples and geographies to decolonize knowledge and facilitate counter-memory. Works that strive to reorganize the senses, engender innovative methodologies, and open space for cultural and political experimentation are engaged. Our efforts contend with multiple complexities, including the ethics of access and engagement with material 'artefacts' and endangered archives imprinted with gendered violence, grief, and loss; bodies identified as half-widow, unknown, queer, disabled, and Other; landscapes of cemeteries of numbers and unknown graves; walls, borders, and shifting roadblocks; and disparate political and metaphoric ruptures. Attentive to multiple traditions of critical thought, this symposium aspires to collaborative scholarly engagement with the spatio-temporal politics of life and death relating to Palestinians, Kashmiris, and Tamils. It calls for intersectional analyses across disciplines, methodologies, issues, and geographicities to enable thought in terrains and among peoples where life is often neither bearable nor 'grievable.' Refusing hierarchies and celebrations of victimhood, this symposium seeks to foster generative approaches to counter-memory. In doing so, we investigate the politics of life and death, proximity and alliance, and their cultural, political, social, and legal implications; and negotiate the possibility of forming an intellectual collective on the rights and (im)possibilities of the living and the dead.