ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

18 – Deviant Bodies, Prohibited Territories and Academia in South Asia

Academic spaces have a tendency to flourish in self contained silos, especially in South Asia where multiple exclusions of gender/caste/language/ethnicity etc operate to prevent access to education.

Convenors

Sukumar Narayana - University of Delhi, Department of Political Science, Delhi, India
Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka - University of Bielefeld, Social Anthropology, Bielefeld, Germany (2)

Long Abstract

Academic spaces have a tendency to flourish in self contained silos, especially in South Asia where multiple exclusions of gender/caste/language/ethnicity etc operate to prevent access to education. The semantics of cultural and ideological domination ensured that such people were stigmatized and invizibilised often resulting in their being silenced. Their efforts to claim these spaces marked them as deviant bodies. It is only in the last few decades that policy interventions of the state enabled the marginalized to make inroads into such prohibited territories. Despite such efforts, such students continue to be ghettoised and out of desperation, they end their lives. Students committing suicides is a reflection of the rising cost of inequality in the neo-liberal regime.

Needless to mention, such encroachments have been contested by the dominant social categories that were controlling the knowledge production. The last few decades have witnessed numerous instances wherein institutions of higher learning have been in turmoil as the epistemological isolation of the marginalized groups have been contested. This panel focuses on the existing multiple forms of inequalities in university spaces across South Asia, the resultant epistemicide and the methodological processes through which these socio-cultural polarities are unravelled and examined. It is essential to map these multiple experiences of assertion and pain through narratives of stake holders, pedagogic and policy interventions in South Asia.