University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

IAS Thursdays: Yasmeen Arif, Recovering the Social after Damage

Law, Life and Humanity: Recovering the Social after Damage

IAS Thursdays at Four presents Yasmeen Arif, Sociology, University of Delhi, India; Nehru-Fulbright Senior Research Fellow, ICGC and the IAS, U of M.

Download as: audio, podcast video, or original.


Download as: audio, podcast video, or original.

How can the question of damaged life, in all its incessant living and dying, be posed as a query of the social? I seek these answers in locations of devastation where a phase of afterlife traces life after damage – life in its social embedding and its individuated experience; life that is reclaimed, mediated or disavowed after mass violence, damage and suffering. ‘Law, Life and Humanity’ is posed here as a set of connected themes that emerge in the afterlife, making visible the transactions between the work of law and emotion, with which the pursuit of life and living is sustained. In these connections, I trace an emerging social that the project for and of life, entails.

In this presentation, the interconnected themes of law, life and humanity will be explored in two locations of mass violence – The Civil War in Sierra Leone (1991-2002) and the Godhra Carnage (2002) in India. The emphasis, in the former, will be the making of new “crimes against humanity” and in the latter, the Nyayagraha movement (roughly, Justice Force). The two locations does not suggest a comparison, but rather, frames the work of law in the mutual making of life and the social in two different contexts. With this exercise, I suggest the powerful collision, and often fusion, of reason and emotion in the understanding of life and a social, where both have been damaged by mass violence.

This presentation draws from my overall project, uses sociological and anthropological approaches, to carve out a distinct social-theoretical and empirical approach to ‘recovery’.

Arif is a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow and a collaborative residential fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study and the Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC). 

This event has been designated by the Office of the Vice President for Research to satisfy the Awareness/Discussion component of the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) continuing education requirement.
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This event took place Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 4:00pm in 125 Nolte.

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