Arafaat A. Valiani
In the February 2010 issue of Cultural Anthropology, Arafaat A. Valiani examines projects of self-mastery within neighborhood physical training programs associated with the Hindi Nationalist Movement. He argues that these physical regimes of training produce subjects that are simultaneously ethically oriented and creatively violent. This analysis is then applied to anti-Muslim pogroms in postcolonial Gujarat. In contrast to previous scholarship on these events, Valiani argues that the pogroms cannot be understood as the simple product of people blindly following the directives of the pro-Hindu BJP party, but must rather be analyzed with reference to the more extended project in which moral selves are cultivated through physical regimes of training and improvization
Arafaat A. Valiani is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Williams College.
Cultural Anthropology has published a number of essays on the topic of violence. These include: Nils Bubandt's "From the Enemy's Point of View: Violence, Empathy, and the Ethnography of Fakes" (2009); Peter Benson's "El Campo: Faciality and Structural Violence in Farm Labor Camps" (2008); and Lori Allen's "Getting By the Occupation: How Violence Became Normal During the Second Palestinian Intifada" (2008).
Cultural Anthropology has also published a number of essays on religion. These include: Jesse Weaver Shipley's "Comedians, Pastors, and the Miraculous Agency of Charisma in Ghana" (2009); Omri Elisha's "Moral Ambitions of Grace: The Paradox of Compassion and Accountability in Evangelical Faith-Based Activism" (2008); and Charles Hirschkind's "Civic Virtue and Religious Reason: An Islamic Counterpublic" (2001).
FEATURED SEGMENT: AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. VALIANI
Please check back on this page soon for the interview. Thank You for your patience.
OTHER ORGANIZATION LINKS
The National Volunteer Organization (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh):
- Wikipedia page on RSS
- Official Website of the RSS
- Head of RSS on why the term terrorism should not be applied to his organization (http://videosfromindia.smashits.com/view/5078/dont-coin-the-term-hindu-terrorism-rss-chief&page=1&viewtype=detailed&category=mr)
Asad, Talal. Genealogies of Religion: Descipline, and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1993.
Hansen, Thomas Blom. The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.
Mahmood, Saba. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.
QUESTIONS FOR CLASSROOM DISCUSSION
- What does it mean to do the type of ethnography that Valiani did for this article? How does Valiani describe the ethical and methodological dilemmas he faced? And, how would you if placed in a comparable situation?
- How does Valiani balance the issues of authority and agency? Are these opposing terms? What is the relationship between them? How do the characters Valiani presents in this essay exercise their agency, and how is this similar or dissimilar from conventional accounts of agency?
- What does Valiani's account of the National Volunteer organization tell us about the relationship between violence and political subjectivity? How does Valiani analyze the embodied, discursive, and affective dispositions which enable certain technologies of violence? What type of information does it reveal?
AUTHOR'S WEB SITE
Valiani, Arafaat A. Militant Publics: Physical Training, Guerilla-styled Protest, and 'Civic' Action in Gujarat, India (tentative title, book manuscript)
Valiani, Arafaat A. "Violence." In Darity Jr., William A., ed. The International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Volume 8. 2008: 622-625.
Valiani, Arafaat A. Contribution solicited by the Social Science Research Council pertaining to the terrorist attacks which took place in Mumbai, India in 2008. In "Off the Cuff: Mumbai Revisited," in Social Sciences Resource Counsel. The Immanent Frame: Secularism, religion and the public sphere. 2009.
Muerggler, Erik. "The Age of Wild Ghosts: Memory, violence, and place in Southwest China." Anthropologica 45, no. 1 (2003): 450-453.
RELATED READINGS ON VIOLENCE PUBLISHED BY CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Allen, Lori. "Getting By the Occupation: How Violence Became Normal During the Second Palestinian Intifada." Cultural Anthropology 23, no. 3 (August 2008): 453-487. Supplemental material
Benson, Peter. "El Campo: Faciality and Structural Violence in Farm Labor Camps." Cultural Anthropology 23, no. 4 (November 2008): 589-629. Supplemental material is available for this essay.
Briggs, Charles L. "Mediating Infanticide: Theorizing Relations between Narrative and Violence." Cultural Anthropology 22, no. 3 (August 2007): 315-356. Supplemental material
Bubandt, Nils. "From the Enemy's Point of View: Violence, Empathy, and the Ethnography of Fakes." Cultural Anthropology 24, no. 3 (August 2009): 553-588. Supplemental material is available for this essay.
Shaw, Rosalind. "Displacing Violence: Making Pentecostal Memory in Postwar Sierra Leone." Cultural Anthropology 22, no. 1 (February 2007): 66-93. Supplemental material
RELATED READINGS ON RELIGION PUBLISHED BY CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
de la Cruz, Dierdre. "Coincidence and Consequence: Marianism and the Mass Media in the Global Philippines." Cultural Anthropology 24, no. 3 (August 2009): 455-488. Supplemental material is available for this essay.
Elisha, Omri. "Moral Ambitions of Grace: The Paradox of Compassion and Accountability in Evangelical Faith-Based Activism." Cultural Anthropology 23, no. 1 (February 2008): 154-189. Supplemental material is available for this essay.
Hirschkind, Charles. "Civic Virtue and Religious Reason: An Islamic Counterpublic." Cultural Anthropology 16, no. 1 (February 2001): 3-34.
Keane, Webb. "Sincerity, 'Modernity,' and the Protestants." Cultural Anthropology 17, no. 1 (February 2002): 65-92.
Mahmood, Saba. "Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival." Cultural Anthropology 16, no. 2 (May 2001): 202-236.
Shipley, Jesse Weaver. "Comedians, Pastors, and the Miraculous Agency of Charisma in Ghana." Cultural Anthropology 24, no. 3 (August 2009): 523-552. Supplemental material is available for this essay.
Supplemental Page Created by Michal Ran-Rubin and Jonah S Rubin.