The Politics of Space and Belonging in the Kashmir Borderland
Antía Mato (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient)
In this talk Antía Mato will discuss the implications of examining the Kashmir dispute from a borderland perspective. She will focus on how conflict is manifested in territory, and more specifically, on the political space that the Line of Control (LoC, the provisional border dividing these territories) has created on both sides through a series of legal and material interventions. Ongoing transformations in this borderland attempt to bring these territories under the state purview and challenge the view that ‘nothing has substantially changed’ in the dispute. An understanding of the political space in these border areas helps us to contextualise recent developments such as the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill of 2019 (passed by Indian Parliament on 5 August), but also allow us to situate the Kashmir conflict within broader theoretical discussions on borders and territory. The study of this borderland intends to expose the discrepancies between hegemonic representations of the Kashmir dispute —as an interstate conflict, a separatist conflict, and as a world hotspot—, and how this dispute is actually experienced ‘from below’, that is, by those affected. This exercise allows for a more critical reading of the international reality and for recognising opportunities for thinking of more inclusive political spaces.
Antía Mato Bouzas is a researcher at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin. Her research focus is on the politics of the South Asian region, with an interest on borders and citizenship. She currently works on a project funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) on migration from north-eastern Pakistan to the Gulf.