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Accepted Paper:

Writing and intellectual dissidence  
Alpa Shah (LSE)

Paper short abstract:

The spaces of intellectual dissidence once provided by universities – promoting disinterested enquiry, encouraging critical analysis, challenging conventional wisdoms – seem ever more controlled. Drawing on writing ‘Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas’ this piece asks, ‘Why write?’

Paper long abstract:

In many parts of the world, the spaces of intellectual dissidence once provided by universities – promoting disinterested enquiry, encouraging critical analysis, challenging conventional wisdoms – seem ever more controlled, if not squeezed out or shut down entirely. In a climate of attack on the dissidence of our intellect, it seems ever more important for scholars as writers to ask the questions: What is our purpose? Who is our reader? How do we navigate the different tensions that we face – the constrains of academic evaluation criteria versus the compulsions of writing for wider publics; scholarly fidelity versus activist commitments; writing as anthropologists versus producing journalism or fiction? In this piece, I hope to create a forum for reigniting anthropology’s relevance beyond the discipline while also keeping alive the space within the discipline for its dissident democratic potential by reflecting on my experiences of writing Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas.

Panel Speak15b
The responsibilities of writing II
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -