Published: Feb. 20, 2017 By , ,
Colloquium poster with title, date, time, location, and painting of woman with bandage on her face

Abstract: This paper will examine a selection of visual texts that seek to intervene in the optical regime that supports the Indian occupation of Kashmir, one that succeeds in eliciting widespread support within India, in part by effecting a systematic erasure of the humanity of Kashmiris. I consider the visual and narrative tactics by which Kashmiri visual producers lay claim to the category of the “human,” as they link human rights claims to the demand for self-determination. In the face of a dehumanizing optical regime, I consider the ways in which Kashmiris take on the burden of “performing humanity" by putting wounded Kashmiri bodies on spectacular display; graphically foregrounding Kashmiri bodily vulnerability in acts of public grieving; and seeking to interpellate a global political community by appealing to a shared humanity. As these urgent claims to a larger community of humans are voiced, this paper asks what it means to perform humanity in these ways.