Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, City University of New York (CUNY) / Graduate Center
Youth Activists in Kashmir: State Violence, Tehreek, and the Formation of Political Subjectivity

My dissertation is an ethnographic study of the self-determination movement in Kashmir. It traces the political struggles and everyday contestations through which young Kashmiri activists, who live under conditions of chronic state violence, challenge India's claims on Kashmir. The history of the self-determination movement, locally known by its Urdu name Tehreek, goes back to 1947. In 1990, however, the movement became an armed struggle, which was violently crushed as India imposed emergency laws in the region. These laws have effectively turned Kashmiris into subjects of military occupation, even though in Indian law Kashmiris are citizens. While Kashmiri youth have been the primary victims of decades of political violence, since 2008 there has been a renewal of a non-violent Tehreek, in which the youth have been prominently involved. The state has, however, continued to target Kashmiris—primarily youth activists—as objects of punitive containment by depicting them as 'anti-national'. State practices of violence and exclusion are accompanied by official discourses that define Kashmiris as Indian. It is struggles against these violent exclusions and forced inclusions, and the citizen-subject differences that the chronic state violence amplifies, which marks the everyday life of young Kashmiri activists. My research will examine how youth become political in the face of state violence. Further documenting the experiences and perspectives of young Kashmiri women activists, I will analyze the consequences of differences within political movements in subordinated societies. Specifically, my research will give an account of: state processes of subjection in Kashmir; relationship between the Kashmiri aspirations of self-determination, its historic articulation in the Tehreek, and the Kashmiri youth subjectivity; and, the modes through which youth might retain agency under conditions of state domination.