Albert Hirschman Centre On Democracy
31 May 2019

Veena Das

Guest of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy

As part of the conference on Democracy and Disorder: Political Unpredictability, Illiberal Governance and Prospects for Democratic Voice,  the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy had the honour to welcome the renowned anthropologist Veena Das, Professor at John Hopkins University.

Veena Das’s scholarship is known for the way in which it weaves together rich fieldwork with critical analysis. Professor Das has made major contributions to contemporary thinking about violence, especially gendered violence, and how it affects everyday life, both in the public domain, and in the margins of the state. For the last 30 years, Veena Das’s highly innovative and powerful research has given new direction to diverse fields including the anthropology of violence, medical anthropology, social suffering, and the state.

Professor Das took an active part in our conference that explored how different political systems integrate order and disorder, the latter being understood as political uncertainty, unpredictability, and insecurity–central features of contemporary illiberal governance.

Interview of Veena Das on Democracy and Disorder

On 2 May 2019, Professor Das also delivered a public talk, entitled Sexual Violence, Public Domain, and Disorders of Democracy. Professor Das explored how the violation of bodily integrity as a public spectacle limits women’s participation in the democratic order, making them less than full citizens. Analysing the complex and difficult issues revealed by recent cases of abduction and sexual violence committed against girls and young women, and how they appear in the media, Professor Das tracked the lines of tension between the nation imagined as masculine and the promise of equal participation in democratic politics across class, caste, and gender divides.

Listen to the audio here.