Disputed between India and Pakistan since 1947, the border region of Kashmir has tragically become the most contested and militarized zone in the world today. Research on this enduring South Asian conflict has been over-determined by a myopic security perspective, which centers on the changing contours of "Kashmir policy", interstate rivalries, and local insurgencies. But how has ordinary life, relationships between generations, and life prospects been shaped by decades of insecurity, violence, and dispossession? How can we make sense of the multiple lineages of the dispute, and the different ways in which it has imposed itself on political subjectivities in the affected regions? And, most basically, why does the dispute continue to persist?
These key concerns will centrally frame the symposium on "Grounding Kashmir." The presentations at the symposium will collectively illuminate the diverse trajectories of the Kashmir dispute through a historical, ethnographic, and literary lens, focusing on social imaginaries, everyday realities, and cultural politics. While South Asian scholarship has richly explored the complexities of partition, grounded investigations of its most pernicious consequence – the Kashmir conflict – have only recently begun to emerge. Yet, there has been no avenue for conversation across the LOC. The symposium will provide an opportunity to unsettle this intellectual line of control, by engaging key speakers who work on Indian and Pakistani Kashmir.
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