Applications Requested for a Reading Seminar on Unravelling New Layers of Caste: Embodiment, Affect, Emotion, and Performative With Dr. Amar BK

- Amar BK

Discussion Type: Reading Seminar | Date: 07 Aug 2024 | Time: 07:30 AM


Organized by Martin Chautari

Course Introduction
Traditionally understood through lenses of hierarchy, endogamy, religion, ritual, occupation, and power, caste is now being re-examined through fresh, innovative perspectives. In this reading seminar, we will explore groundbreaking literature that delves into the emotional, affective, performative, and experiential dimensions of caste, with the concept of touch being the central focus. Key questions we will explore are: How is caste experienced in everyday life? How does caste operate within the realm of emotions and psychology? What role does touch play in the dynamics of caste? Does caste perpetuate itself through performance? We will unravel these questions and more, engaging with recent contributions that push the boundaries of how we understand caste, through a multi-disciplinary literature produced from Anthropology, History, Literature, Political Science, and Philosophy. This seminar promises to offer deep insights and foster rich discussions on the multifaceted experiences of caste in contemporary society.

Amar BK is a cultural anthropologist, researcher, and development expert, holding a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. His interests and work converge at the intersection of caste, gender, and religion. He is particularly interested in unravelling the complexities of social inequalities, power dynamics, marginalizations, and injustices especially rooted in caste, gender, ethnicity, and religion. Amar’s doctoral research delves into the caste and gender politics of dignity, equity, and justice among Dalit women in Nepal.

Amar has collaborated with diverse organizations in Nepal, spanning grassroots initiatives to international agencies. His contributions encompass areas such as social inclusion, gender equality, anti-caste movement, Dalit rights, democracy, inclusive governance, and research and policymaking.

Amar has authored over a dozen essays, articles, and op-eds in both Nepali and English languages, predominantly focusing on caste and Dalit politics. Amar is currently serving as the Chairperson of Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies -Kathmandu Center (ANHS-KC).

Seminar Dates: August 7, August 14, August 21; and August 28 (2024); Wednesdays.

Time: 7:30-9:30 am

Venue: Martin Chautari Seminar Hall, Thapathali, Kathmandu.

Course Fee: NRs. 3,000 (In words: Rupees Three Thousands)

Eligibility Requirements:
This course is intended for MA, MPhil, PhD students and early career scholars who are interested in pursuing the questions of caste. Applicants are required to: (i) do all the assigned readings and come to the seminar prepared to discuss them (see below for details); and (ii) have a good command in English.

Application Process: Please submit a 200-word write-up explaining why you want to attend the course. Also include a one-page CV of yours with full contact details including your current email address and telephone numbers. For online applications, please fill up this Google Form and attach the requested essay and CV as indicated in the form. You can also submit the above in person at MC’s office (27 Jeet Jung Marg, Thapathali, Kathmandu) in a closed envelope that states “Application for Reading Seminar on Unravelling New Layers of Caste" on the front side. The application deadline is July 19, 2024. Successful applicants will be notified by July 28, 2024. They will have to enroll by August 2, 2024 by paying the course fee to Martin Chautari. Reading materials will be provided after the payment.

Successful applicants can make the payment either in cash at the front desk of Martin Chautari during office hours, or they can pay it electronically (via e-Sewa id 9848867217).

For further information, please contact:

Martin Chautari
Tel: 5338050, 4102027, 4102243


Course Schedule

Background Reading 

  1. Jodhka, Surinder. 2015. The Idea of Caste. In Caste in Contemporary India, pp. 1–18. New Delhi: Routledge. (Optional)

Class 1: Experiencing Caste

  1. Sarukkai, Sundar. 2009. Phenomenology of Untouchability. Economic and Political Weekly 44(37): 39–48.
  2. Guru, Gopal. 2009. Archeology of Untouchability. Economic and Political Weekly 44(37): 49–56.
  3. Jogdand, Yashpal. 2023. Ground Down and Locked in a Paperweight: Toward a Critical Psychology of Caste-Based Humiliation. Critical Philosophy of Race 11(1): 33–67

Class 2: Affect and Emotion

  1. Lee, Joel. 2017. Odor and Order How Caste Is Inscribed in Space and Sensoria. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 37(3): 470–490.
  2. Lee, Joel. 2021. Disgust and Untouchability: Towards an Affective Theory of Caste. South Asian History and Culture 12(2-3): 310–327.
  3. Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2018. The Dalit Body: A Reading for the Anthropocene. In The Empire of Disgust: Prejudice, Discrimination, and Policy in India and the US. Zoya Hasan, Aziz Z. Huq, Martha C. Nussbaum and Vidhu Verma, eds., pp. 1–20. London: Oxford University Press.

Class 3: Practice of Touching and No-touching

  1. Jawaare, Aniket. 2019. Practicing Caste: On Touching and Not Touching. New York: Fordham University Press. (Introduction, pp. 1–10; Chapter 7&8, pp. 170–204; Foreword by Anupama Rao [optional])

Class 4: Embodiment and Performance

  1. Gorringe, Hugo and Irene Rafanell. 2007. The Embodiment of Caste: Oppression, Protest and Change. Sociology 41(1): 97–114.
  2. Narayan, Vivek. 2021. Caste as Performance: Ayyankali and the Caste Scripts of Colonial Kerala. Theatre Survey 62: 272–294.
  3. Paik, Sailaja. 2022. Performing Precarity: Sex-Gender-Caste/Ashlil Manski-Assli (Introduction). In The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India, pp. 1–43. Stanford: Standford University Press.
- Amar BK

Past Events