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Caste and the Body as Infrastructure of Equality: Labour, Death, Force
November 26, 2021 | 4-5pm EST

Pathbreakers: New Postdoctoral Research on South Asia at U of T

Taking up treatments in social thought on work as an insult to status and an assertion of dignity, the recuperation of collective standing in the recognition of individualised death, and the imagination of sovereignty derived from common culpabilities, this presentation explores how caste as a particular contextualisation of questions of equality is framed through mediation of the body as an analytical instrument. How might we understand the polemical force of B.R Ambedkar's formulation of a “division of labourers” as description of inequality? How does the category of atrocity anchor untouchability as the reconciliation between multitudes of the dead and death as individual event? How might a poetic figuration of force frame sovereignty as collective culpability for every body harmed? Through thumbnail sketches of polemical, conceptual, and aesthetic strategies through which Dalit and other thinkers frame and engage these questions, I hope to share the sense in which these particular operationalisations of caste may be inhabited as lessons in thinking with equality as an axiom and aspiration.

Speaker: Dr. William F. Stafford, Jr. (Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Visual Studies, University of Toronto, Mississauga)

Discussant: Professor Kajri Jain (Department of Visual Studies, University of Toronto, Mississauga)

Chair: Professor Christoph Emmrich (Department for the Study of Religion and Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies, Asian Institute)

Nov 26, 2021 04:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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