Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Acknowledgments

Roma Chatterji

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xii

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Brandel and Deepak Mehta, who have both contributed to this volume in different ways. Veena Das has, as always, been unstinting in her support and encouragement. In a career in anthropology that spans over four decades and has inspired students and colleagues in institutions across the globe, it is fitting that this volume pays tribute to her role as mentor and continues a conversation...

read more

1. Conversations, Generations, Genres: Anthropological Knowing as a Form of Life

Roma Chatterji

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-20

Veena Das is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding anthropologists of our times, noted especially for the manner in which she brings the everyday and the ordinary to bear on questions of ethics, politics, and the making of anthropological knowledge. Das has been lauded for the ways she has sustained throughout her career a high degree of both patience and curiosity of a kind by no means common in prominent scholars. To...

read more

2. Ethnography in the Time of Martyrs: History and Painin Current Anthropological Practice

Sylvain Perdigon

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 21-37

October 2006, al-Bāṣ Palestinian refugee camp, on the outskirts of the city of Tyre, southern Lebanon. Ḥusayn calls me as I pass by the stall where he repairs old Mercedes Benzes for a living. He knows I get the daily paper from a bookstore outside the camp and offers to take the fifteen-minute stroll with me today. I gladly accept, though with a bit of surprise, since he is not usually one to leave work on a whim. I have gotten to know...

read more

3. Pedagogies of the Clinic: Learning to Live (Again and Again)

Aaron Goodfellow

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 38-54

In her recent writing, Veena Das has drawn attention to the different ways the clinic is maintained as an idea and a series of practices in the day-to-day functioning of different social lives and contexts. She has focused on ideologies of domination to understand how biopolitical forms of power both require and come to use bodies in perhaps unanticipated ways. Whether it be in her collaborative work with Roma Chatterji and Sangeeta Chattoo...

read more

4. Disembodied Conjugality

Lotte Buch Segal

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 55-68

In her seminal article “Wittgenstein and Anthropology” (1998c), Veena Das offers anthropologists a reading of Wittgenstein inspired by the writing of Cavell. Through the work of these, Das makes a plea for “a hesitancy in the way in which we habitually dwell among our concepts of culture, of everyday life, or of the inner” (1998c: 172). The call for hesitancy typifies the distinctive and sophisticated quality of Das’s writing as figures in...

read more

5. Word, Image, and Movement: Translating Pain

Ein Lall, Roma Chatterji

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 69-83

This photo essay describes a dance performance that was inspired by a chapter in Life and Words in which Veena Das describes her struggle with “writing pain”—the language of social science and its ability to describe violence and express the pain of a traumatic event.1 It is in Wittgenstein’s meditations on pain that Das finds the means to think of language as a kind of transaction between words and bodies so that the experience of pain...

read more

6. Conceptual Vita

Bhrigupati Singh

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 84-104

In an earlier epoch, one of the most popular didactic genres of writing was the vitae or “lives of saints.”1 Differently concerned with canonization, education, and the collective recollection of a contemplative life, we might ask: how would we narrate a scholarly life? We might offer some personal anecdotes about the scholar, although this would probably not tell us much about what they puzzled over for most of their life. Alternately, we might...

read more

7. The Child Bears Witness: Menace, Despair, and Hope in a Courtroom

Pratiksha Baxi

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 105-127

The picture of the appellate law on rape1 in India provided by Veena Das (1996b) proffers a semiotic understanding of legal discourse of rape in everyday contexts by suggesting that the analysis of appellate law proceeds at two levels. Deriving from Greimas and Landowski, Das looks at the legal discourse on rape at the level of the legislative as the process of...

read more

8. Experiments with Fate: Buddhist Morality and Human Rights in Thailand

Don Selby

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 128-153

Veena Das’s sustained engagement with the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, especially as read by Stanley Cavell, leads us, among other places, to consider violence, modes of inclusion and exclusion, political expression, the event and the everyday. It is around the notions of event, in particular a shift in her apprehension of the event, that I organize this chapter. We may break Das’s writing on events into, on the one hand, critical events, and on the...

read more

9. Communitas and Recovered Life: Suffering and Recovery in the Sikh Carnage of 1984

Yasmeen Arif

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 154-171

This essay, in many ways, is a revisitation of past events which have formatively articulated a language of social suffering and found a place in the making of social anthropology in India. I refer mainly to the frameworks that have emerged in Veena Das’s (1990; 1995a; 2007) work on the Sikh Carnage of 1984. The ethnographic work and ideas I discuss here are based on my brief encounter, during 2004, with some of those involved in...

read more

10. Sexual Violence, Law, and Qualities of Affiliation

Sameena Mulla

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 172-190

In 2005, Rachel,1 a young woman from Baltimore, told me about reuniting with her estranged father and coming to know her paternal kin. Among these kin was her father’s younger brother. Rachel had visited her uncle and other paternal kin one or two times in an effort to resurrect ties with her father’s side of the family. In and out of prison over the years, Uncle George had been a minimal presence in Rachel’s life until recently. Of...

read more

11. On Feelings and Finiteness in Everyday Life

Clara Han

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 191-210

Soledad and I sat in the shady patio of her younger sister Ruby’s house. It was a crisp September morning in 2005 in La Pincoya, a población in the northern zone of Santiago, Chile. Soledad had stayed up all night waiting for her partner, Johnny, to come home. He arrived in the morning with a bitter smell of alcohol. Soledad did not speak to him, and instead walked to Ruby’s house around the corner, where Ruby and I were drinking cups...

read more

12. “Listening to Voices”: Immigrants, Settlers, and Citizens at the Ethnic Margins of the State

Sangeeta Chattoo

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 211-235

This chapter is an attempt at locating ethnicity as a site of subjectivity and negotiation of relations between self, community, and State.1 People of South Asian origin, like most minorities, are located at the political margins of the State in the UK, and constituted as partial citizens through essentialized notions of culture, tradition, and community (cf. Das and Poole 2004). The presence and recognition of Muslims, in particular since...

read more

13. Punjabi Inscriptions of Kinship and Gender: Sayings and Songs

Rita Brara

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 236-257

In this chapter I discuss aspects of Punjabi kinship and marriage that emerge from a perusal of sayings, songs, and conversations for the most part with women. These proverbs and songs constitute a distinctive arena of the speech (parole)1 of women, as sayings that are transmitted across generations mainly by women through usage in domestic contexts and as songs articulated at women-centered occasions or rites. Such spoken and sung...

read more

14. In the Event of an Anthropological Thought

Anand Pandian

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 258-272

Perhaps the most striking thing about Veena Das’s moving essay on her childhood in Delhi is its concluding question: “With such a history, what else could I have become . . . but an anthropologist?” (2009: 208). On the face of it, this is a history that would not seem to have insisted on the becoming of any one mode of being at all. The story she tells is one of endless accidents of circumstance, composed as a series of shadowy impressions...

read more

15. The Ayodhya Dispute: Law’s Imagination and the Functions of the Status Quo

Deepak Mehta

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 273-287

In arguing for an ethics of curiosity and vulnerability, Veena Das draws our attention to the experience of the limit, to skepticism, and to the ordinariness of violence. In a series of essays and writings (Das 1998c, 2007, 2010d) she allows us to recognize new ethical and political possibilities offered by a close attention to the continual and dense interplay of different modes of life. What kinds of new reading practices, interdisciplinary knowledge...

read more

16. The Death of Nature in the Era of Global Warming

Naveeda Khan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 288-299

In The Discovery of Global Warming, Spencer Weart (2008: vii) writes about walking home one day noticing the maple trees lining his street and suddenly being able to see the maples dead—in his words, “felled by global warming.” His book is a history of how scientists came to imagine such things to spur their research into climate science. I am very interested in this way of formulating one’s relation to global warming, that of presaging...

read more

17. Triste Romantik: Ruminations on an Ethnographic Encounter with Philosophy

Andrew Brandel

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 300-317

Though my wandering has only just begun in earnest, it feels to me as if a lifetime. I am just taking those first treacherous steps toward my destination, though I feel as if I have had to claw through a dense tangle just to get here. Not yet midway through the journey of our life, I found myself thrown in that chaparral, the straightforward path thoroughly obscured. I came unto a lion, a leopard, and she-wolf. And thus I began to run...

read more

18. Making Claims to Tradition: Poetics and Politics in the Works of Young Maithil Painters

Mani Shekhar Singh

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 318-346

Since its “reinvention” on paper under State patronage in the late 1960s, Maithil painting has been presented to the metropolitan art world as a traditional art with distinct “caste styles,” which women inherit and practice within domestic–ritual settings.1 What is implicit in such a presentation—most clearly articulated in the policies and programs of the All India Handicrafts Board (AIHB)2 and its functionaries—is that children and...

read more

19. The Mirror as Frame: Time and Narrative in the Folk Art of Bengal

Roma Chatterji

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 347-371

In a recent essay on the landscape paintings of Akbar Padamsee, Veena Das reflects on the nature of the image in Indian aesthetics, tracing the route taken by the artist as he meditated on the concept of the mirror image. She describes the sense of wonder with which Padamsee first realized that the prints that he took from his etching plate were not true copies of the picture that he had drawn but rather its opposite—a mirror image. He...

read more

20. Adjacent Thinking: A Postscript

Veena Das

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 372-399

When once asked to define anthropology, Lévi-Strauss answered that it was the land of the free.1 I take the three defining terms with which Roma Chatterji names this collection in her introductory essay—conversations, generations, genres—as providing the coordinates through which I might define my orientations within such a landscape of freedom. Since my own sense of my thinking is that of crab-like movements without a beginning...

read more

21. Between Words and Lives. A Thought on the Coming Together of Margins, Violence, and Suffering: An Interview with Veena Das

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 400-412

[This chapter is an English translation of a Portuguese-language interview that appeared in the journal DILEMAS (Misse et al. 2012) in which Veena Das responded to questions posed by Brazilian social scientists regarding her life and work.]

Q. Let us start with your trajectory. Could you make us a small memoir of your choosing anthropology, and what that meant for a woman in India in the 1960s? We would also like to learn about your moving to the...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 413-444

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 445-468

Contributors

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 469-472

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 473-482

Other Works in the Series

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 483-484