Accepted paper:

Geographies of law and power in Kashmir

Author:

Haley Duschinski (Ohio University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers the complex geographies of law and power under militarized occupation in Kashmir Valley, with special attention to contestations over memory, identity, and territory, and how these contestations play out across the landscape.

Paper long abstract:

This paper considers the complex geographies of law and power under militarized occupation in Kashmir Valley, with special attention to contestations over memory, identity, and territory, and how these contestations play out across the landscape. Recognizing cartography as a form of legal and political discourse, the paper examines the spatial plotting of the state's legal and political claims to existence and validity on maps, and considers how these cartographic representations constitute an apparatus of occupation. It also considers alternative popular mappings that employ and embody counter-hegemonic legal and political claims and thus challenge the cartographic power of state law. The paper considers what von Benda Beckmann et all call the "insurrectionist character" of these maps and the memories they inscribe across the landscape. How do legal and political frameworks, concepts and institutions shape the production, consolidation, and dissemination of collective knowledge about the past? How do variously-positioned community actors leverage memory as part of broader processes of legal claim-making and struggles for rights and justice? How do transnational networks and processes shape these dynamics of mobilization and memorialization in particular social and political contexts? And how are these movements mapped across territories, attaching and advancing alternative meanings associated with localities, homelands, and territories? In considering these questions, the paper points towards the emancipatory potential of alternative legal and political claims and their spatial geographies, as legal frameworks, conceptualizations, and mobilizations shape how communities imagine solidarity and sovereignty, locality and homeland, history and truth, and hope and aspiration.

panel P39
Liberating Kashmir from the 'South Asian' past and identity