Lecture | COGLOSS
Colonial and Global History Seminar
- Wednesday 10 November 2021
- COGLOSS seminars 2021-2022
2311 VL Leiden
- Meeting Room (1.65)
On the 10th of November, 2021, i.e., this coming Wednesday, Aditya Kiran Kakati, formerly of the Graduate Institute in Geneva and currently Fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies will be presenting a paper. Aditya presents on his nearly-finished, “ Worlds of War(s): unravelling Eurcocentrism in ‘global’ and ‘total’ wars in social memory of violence across Indo-Burma-Bangladesh borders” at 12.00 hrs in the “Meeting Room” of the Huizinga Building. Feel free to bring along your lunches, so we can continue COGLOSS in the spirit we are accustomed to. Aditya earned an MA (with a thesis on the foodways in the Eastern Himalayas) and a PhD (on the effects of the Second World War on the Indo-Burma frontier) at Geneva before a COVID-delayed arrival in Leiden in the spring of this year. He sends us an abstract that offers a glimpse of his current work:
This article unpacks multiple memorializations of Second World War (WWII) in relation to others ‘wars’ to unshackle the hegemonic Eurocentric genealogies associated with it. I argue that these genealogies obscure the continuity of violence embedded historically in everyday life and contemporary social memory that were catalysed by ‘globalizing forces such as WWII in the former Indo-Burmese frontier. Warfare has been central to a longer history of imperial state-making on this colonial frontier, which WWII both interrupted and later fuelled. Yet, Eurocentric memorializations of WWII and other wars before and after it privilege a romantic narrative of intimacy and loyalty of frontier ‘tribes’ under the umbrella term ‘Zo’, like Lushais (or Mizo, post-decolonization) to the former British Empire. This narrative in turn is appropriated within political resistance to post-colonial nation-building which embroiled entire Mizo society in a state of ‘total war’. This exploration reveals the ubiquity of violent conflicts in the region and how the historical baggage of coercion is whitewashed or preserved in social memory. By stretching the spectrum of ‘wars’ before and after WWII, the article will unsettle the notions of violence through contradictions in archived experiences and recent social memories of conflicts. These notions comprise and complicate vocabularies and experiences of violent events across the Indo-Burmese frontier and eventual Mizo resistance to becoming nationally contained within ‘borderlands’.
I hope that’s warmed you up and that you’ll be there, and that you’ll pardon COGLOSS for not informing you about this exciting talk earlier. If you would like to read Aditya’s full paper, please do send in a request and it will be yours to read. Since the paper is a work-in-progress, we do request your discretion.