Colonizing Kashmir: Sovereignty, Democracy, and Occupation

Feb 13 2024
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Hesburgh Center C103
100 Hesburgh Center
Notre Dame, IN


Around the world, democratic nation states hide patterns of colonization, claiming territorial and political sovereignty while denying participation and self-determination for minoritized communities within their borders. Hafsa Kanjwal, assistant professor of South Asian History at Lafayette College, will join the Kroc Institute to illuminate the continuity of colonial pasts and democratic presents through the lens of her book, Colonizing Kashmir: State-Building Under Indian Occupation.

Exploring how the contested territory of Kashmir was made “integral” to India in the 1950s and 60s soon after partition, Kanjwal reveals how the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir tailored its policies to integrate Kashmir’s Muslims. These policies were marked by inter-religious tension, corruption, and political repression. Challenging the binaries of colonial and postcolonial, Kanjwal historicizes India’s occupation of Kashmir to highlight the new hierarchies of power that emerged in the aftermath of decolonization. In doing so, she urges us to question triumphalist narratives of India’s state-formation, as well as the sovereignty claims of the modern nation-state.

Inviting a critical reflection on our modern liberal nation state system, Kanjwal will also provide a model for how historical scholarship can strengthen calls for justice in the current day.

This event is cosponsored by the Initiative on Race and Resilience at Notre Dame and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies’ South Asia Group. 

Contending Modernities

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