Research and Impact

OHIO Professor Haley Duschinski advances scholarship on Kashmir in new book

Ohio University’s Haley Duschinski, professor of Anthropology and graduate director of the MA Program in Law, Justice & Culture, has recently published The Palgrave Handbook of New Directions in Kashmir Studies.

A disputed region spanning South and Central Asia, Kashmir has been at the center of geopolitical conflicts and rivalries among India, Pakistan and China for decades. Members of many different local communities have struggled at the intersections of colonial-era state formations, postcolonial military occupations, intrastate armed conflicts and cold war and post-cold war politics. The Palgrave Handbook, co-edited with Mona Bhan of Syracuse University and Cabeiri deBergh Robinson of University of Washington, advances scholarship on Kashmir by examining how people living in different parts of the disputed region make sense of the historical conditions and political contingencies of their political lives.

Duschinski notes that 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the start of the Kashmir dispute.

“Along with Palestine, Kashmir is the longest unresolved international conflict on the UN agenda,” she said. “We published this book to call for a significant rethinking of conventional military, diplomatic and academic approaches to the dispute – and to question the state-centric approaches that privilege global logics of weaponized states, militarized borders and counterinsurgency wars.”

Noura Erakat, co-founder of Jadaliyya and author of Justice for Some? Law and the Question of Palestine, writes that the Palgrave Handbook “makes a bold intervention in the way we study and understand Kashmir.”

Duschinski and her co-editors are anthropologists who have conducted extensive field research on both sides of the Line of Control that separates Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

“As anthropologists, we have worked purposefully over the past two decades to align our intellectual pursuits with the larger political goals of liberation, sovereignty, and self-determination for Kashmir, and in solidarity with other indigenous and marginalized peoples living under conditions of occupation, colonization, and domination," Duschinski said.

Duschinski has also conducted research and research-based advocacy on Kashmir at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Also read about Duschinski’s expert testimony before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission US Congressional Hearing on “Kashmir in Context” in November 2019.

The Palgrave Handbook includes 29 chapters of original empirical scholarship that analyze and interpret peoples’ perceptions, experience, and realities rather than the master narratives of the postcolonial states that are party to the Kashmir dispute. As Duschinski notes, “this new orientation to Kashmir Studies positions various peoples of Kashmir as serious interpreters of their own historical experiences and proceeds through a reflexive commitment to theories and methods that run against the grain of conventional hegemonic and statist scholarly production.”

Kamran Asdar Ali, professor of Anthropology and former director of the South Asia Institute at University of Texas at Austin, writes that the book “forces us to think beyond the two nation-states that have curtailed the struggle for sovereign rights and national emancipation in the region.” 

  • Read more about Duschinski’s previous publications on Kashmir including a special issue of Critique of Anthropology on “Occupations in Context.”

Duschinski contributed several chapters to the Palgrave Handbook. She and Bhan authored “From Incorporation to Elimination: Interlocution as an Apparatus of Occupation in Kashmir,” which focuses on the long history of Indian state-sponsored interlocution efforts that serve to normalize the occupation, present a facade of humanitarianism, and erase the terror of state violence. With Bhan and Goldie Osuri of University of Warwick, she authored “Critical Interventions: Human Rights and International Justice in Kashmir,” which recounts recent human rights interventions that have incorporated Kashmiri aspirations. They argue that such interventions constitute a necessary component of the broader political project of Kashmiri self-determination.

Along with Bhan and Deepti Misri of University of Colorado, Duschinski edited another major volume, The Routledge Handbook of Critical Kashmir Studies, in 2022. In spring 2023, Richa Nagar, Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, led a discussion of the Routledge Handbook in her graduate seminar on Feminist Knowledge Production and published the student essays in a special issue of the journal AGITATE!

This course… asked: How might a commitment to grappling with anti-coloniality and justice push us to know, imagine, make, and be differently in relation to academic knowledge making? What might it mean to consciously disrupt modes of scholarly engagement that pursue research, representation, and writing as extraction, while learning to surrender ourselves to an endless journey of co-evolving epistemic practices where refusal, reciprocity, vulnerability, relationality, and collectivity can guide our approaches to knowledge making? How can we become part of journeys that are committed to co-making knowledges for justice without seeking fixed answers or closures and without giving up hope? These questions guided us as we immersed ourselves in the pages of the Routledge Handbook of Critical Kashmir Studies.

Duschinski notes that curated collections such as the Palgrave Handbook and the Routledge Handbook play an important role in defining a body of scholarship that serves as a form of intellectual interventions in a fraught political terrain.

"An important part of this effort has been editorial labor to curate and showcase young and promising scholars from Kashmir whose excellent scholarship remains obscured or is completely erased from dominant scholarly productions on Kashmir," Duschinski added.

October 5, 2023
Staff reports