Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Brown/RISD Teach-In – University and Dissent: Universities Under Siege

Thursday, February 25, 2016

12 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

On February 9th 2016, the Delhi Police stormed Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), one of India's most prestigious universities, on the pretext of “anti national” slogans being raised by students during a Kashmir-related event on campus. The elected president of the student union, Kanhaiya Kumar, was arrested on charges of sedition, sparking one of the most polarising and explosive debates in recent times on dissent and the university, nationalism, democracy, and state violence in India. This raises critical questions for us as members of a university but also as citizens. What do these events mean for the university as a space for critical thought and political action? What are the boundaries between freedom of expression, dissent and hate speech? In the charged context of the politics of hate, how does nationalism come to be defined from positions of dominance and marginality? When is the intervention of the state through direct and indirect forms of violence justified? How does this political moment resonate with struggles in South Africa, Turkey, Chile and right here in the United States, particularly with #BlackLivesMatter?

Join us for a Brown/RISD teach-in to debate these issues and extend solidarity to the students of JNU. Some speakers will be Skyping from India. Click here  to watch a chronology of events by JNU Students.

South Asian Studies
Saxena Center for Contemporary South Asia

Relevant articles curated by Brown graduate students who work on South Asia:

  • India's Crackdown on Dissent: New York Times piece
  • We are of this country and love the soil of India: Full text of Student Union President Kanhaiya Kumar's speech, for which he was arrested
  • An ominous operetta: Opinion piece in The Indian Express by Alok Rai
  • Knock on the Door?: One woman's account of the everyday terror she and other student activists are being subjected to
  • How Not to #StandWIthJNU: A piece on the complexity of solidarity around the question of Kashmir's self-determination
  • An act of tyranny: 'Modi govt threatened democracy; that is the most anti-national of all acts': Opinion column on The Indian Express by Pratap Bhanu Mehta
  • Fifth Column: Celebration India's destruction: "The more JNU-type slogans we hear, the more Hindu rage we will see." Opinion column on The Indian Express by Tavleen Singh

This event is co-sponsored by South Asian Studies, Brown-India Initiative, & RISD.