BASAS Annual Lecture 2024 & Book Prize Winner Announcement

To be held at Oxford Brookes University, 23rd of April 2024

Prof. Ravinder Kaur (University of Copenhagen)

Title: Protocols of Memory: 1947 Partition and the Return of the Political

Abstract: I return to the concept of the political to unpack the public life of Partition memory. In the past quarter century, the bid to document and archive the experiences of human suffering has produced a variety of rich accounts of Partition violence and expulsion. The 1947 Partition is now the subject of several virtual archives, museums as well as state rituals that serve as public memorials to the human tragedy that unfolded. Drawing attention to the aesthetics and politics of the popular history of Partition, I ask – whose wounds can be preserved, exhibited, and remembered in the public domain? What kinds of antagonisms are remembered or forgotten in the public performance of Partition memorialization? And finally, who precisely inhabits the category of “human” in this human tragedy? These questions allow us to critically reflect on the long history of silences as well as the increasingly de-politicized human subject of suffering that has come to occupy center stage in the popular history of Partition.

Bio: Ravinder Kaur is a historian of contemporary India. She teaches Modern South Asian Studies and directs the Asian Dynamics Initiative at the University of Copenhagen. Her core research focuses on the processes of capitalist transformations in twenty-first-century India. This is the subject of her most recent book Brand New Nation: Capitalist Dreams and Nationalist Designs in Twenty-First-Century India (Stanford University Press, 2020). This work was selected as the “Financial Times Best Book of the Year” in 2020 and longlisted for the “Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize” in 2021. She is also the author of Since 1947: Partition Narratives among the Punjabi Migrants of Delhi (Oxford University Press, 2007; 2nd edition, 2018).


5-5.20 Tea & Coffee (JHB 307)
5.20-5.40 BASAS Book Prize Presentations (JHB 308 – Kennedy Room)
5.40-7pm Annual Lecture followed by Q & A (JHB 308 – Kennedy Room)
7-8pm Wine Reception (JHB 307)