The Blog July 30, 2020

What We're Reading This Week

Matthew Bowser 

Pratik Chakrabarti, “Covid-19 and the Spectres of Colonialism”,The India Forum

Chakrabarti discusses how colonialism provided the initial model for pandemic control in India. He argues that this legacy influenced how the current Indian state has adopted this model along with its most asymmetrical consequences for poor and marginalized communities, up to and including human rights violations.

Adam Tomasi, “Complementary Tactics: Connecting Counter-Violence and Militant Nonviolence”The Activist History Review

A piece that dovetails nicely with Purdue’s above, Tomasi connects the philosophies of counter-violence espoused by anti-fascists from Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht to present day members of “Antifa” to the “militant nonviolence” espoused by such leaders as Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For both, he argues, violence serves as a defensive measure against the aggressive violence of the right against the left, as well as the violence inflicted by the state on the poor and marginalized.

Nishant Batsha, “Curry Before Columbus”Contingent Magazine

Why is “Indian food,” with all of its regional varieties, necessarily spicy? What makes “curry” a short-hand for “an entire subcontinent’s worth of food”? Nishant Batsha uses a historical perspective to show that the concept of “curry” and the perception of an inherent spiciness of South Asian cuisine are both historically contingent: developments of the new trade connections and cultural changes that came with modern globalization and European colonialism.

 

Mahdi Chowdhury 

Saidiya Hartman & Cartherine Damman, “Saidiya Hartman on insurgent histories and the abolitionist imaginary”, Artforum.

A timely and meditative piece by the eminent cultural historian and author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments that touches on—among other things—the “translation of Black suffering into white pedagogy”.

Dolly Kikon, “The politics of dog meat ban in Nagaland”, Frontline.

In response to the legal ratification of a long-waged bid to ban dog meat in the Indian state of Nagaland, the Naga anthropologist and author of Living with Oil and Coal writes about the racist “nationalist civilising project” that underpins its logic.

Bathsheba Demuth, “Reindeer at the End of the World”, Emergence Magazine.

The Arctic environmental historian and author of Floating Coast writes a narrative essay about the Chukchi Peninsula which reflects on its natural scenes, the history of the Soviet state, and the allure of “apocalyptic thinking”.

 

Nicholas Michael Sy 

Xiao Chua, "When Our Ancestors “Discovered” Magellan"National Quincentennial Committee

Michael Chua tackles the difficult task of rebranding the world's first circumnavigation. 

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