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Conflict and Post-conflict situations have had various forms of manifestations across different parts of South Asia. Following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the post-apartheid period in South Africa in 1994, debates on reconciliation has had a particular currency in addressing violent pasts, seeking ‘closure’ and ‘moving forward’. The idea of ‘national reconciliation’ emerged from a particular set of historical and political experiences, namely the transitions to liberal democracy that occurred at the end of the Cold War. This lecture seeks to explore how debates on reconciliation and also irreconciliation has/has not manifested in South Asia and what implication it has in the ways in which South Asia is imagined, configured and ‘futured’.


About the speaker

Nayanika Mookherjee

Nayanika Mookherjee (FRSA) is a Professor of Political Anthropology and Co-Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Durham University. Based on her widely acclaimed book The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971 (2015 Duke University Press), in 2019 she co-authored (with a Bangladeshi visual artist Najmunnahar Keya) a set of guidelines, graphic novel and animation film Birangona: Towards ethical testimonies of sexual violence during conflict and received the 2019 Praxis Award from the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists. The guidelines and graphic novel have fed into the Murad Code (named after the Yazidi sexual violence survivor and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad) developed by the Prevent Sexual Violence Initiative of the UK government. Her focus on ethics emerges from her own research as well as being an Ethics officer of the ASA (Association of Social Anthropology) from 2007-2012 when she updated the ASA ethics code in consultation with the members and being a part of the ethics committee of the World Council of Anthropological Associations.

She has published extensively on anthropology of violence, ethics and aesthetics including editing volumes like ‘The Aesthetics of Nation’ (2011 with Christopher Pinney), ‘The Self in South Asia,’ (2013); Aesthetics, Politics and Conflict (2015 with Tariq Jazeel) and her recently edited volume is On Irreconciliation (2022). She has had fellowships with ESRC, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, British Academy, Leverhulme and the Rockerfeller Foundation at Bellagio. She is finalising her manuscript Arts of Irreconciliation and funded by the British Academy she is carrying out research on war babies, conflict and transnational adoption. She did her BA (Honours) in Political Science from Presidency College (Calcutta University, India), and MA in Sociology and Anthropology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, Delhi, India) and her Phd in Social Anthropology from SOAS (University of London). She was in the Sociology department in Lancaster University before joining the Anthropology department in Durham in 2011.


About the Discussant

Professor Humeira Iqtidar

Prof Humeira Iqtidar is Professor of Politics at King’s College London. Her research brings together postcolonial theory, comparative political theory and Islamic thought with a focus on modern South Asia. Thematically, her research has been concerned with questions of justice and tolerance, the place of religion in contemporary political imagination, the politics of knowledge, and the legacies of colonialism. Methodologically, she has argued for greater interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary research. Humeira joined King's College London in 2011. She has studied at the University of Cambridge in UK, McGill University in Canada and Quaid-e-Azam University in Pakistan. Before joining King's, Humeira was based at the University of Cambridge as a fellow of King’s College and Graduate Research Officer at the Centre of South Asian Studies. She is also a co-convenor of the London Comparative Political Theory Workshop and Race and Racism in the Global South seminar series, an editor of the McGill-Queens Studies in Modern Islamic Thought, and has featured in interviews and articles in Al-Jazeera, BBC World Service, Voice of America, Der Spiegel, Social Science Research Council Online, The Dawn, The Guardian, Express Tribune, The Conversation and Open Democracy.


About the Chair

Umtul Aleem Kokab

Umtul Aleem Kokab is a PhD candidate at the Department of humanities and social sciences (HUSS), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India. Her doctoral project engages with the conceptual framework of performance by placing it in the everyday register of Ahmadis Muslims in India. The research attempts to look at the possible ways in which negated and marginalized communities work to create a conducive environment for their survival. She is the recipient of 2022-23 Inlaks-King’s India studentship. Currently, as a visiting fellow to King’s India Institute, Kings college London, She is conducting an ethnographic study in parts of South London as part of her PhD project. Using this grant, her aim is to engage with Ahmadi diaspora and examine the poetics of social practices among Ahmadi Muslims in UK. Her research looks at the politics of performance, everyday lives, ethnographic interventions, and Anthropology of religion.

Event details

BH Lecture Theatre 3 [BH NE 0.01]
Bush House
Strand campus, 30 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BG