School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Strawberry Farms: Adopting New Crops in Northeast India
    Kikon, D ; Deka, D (RAIOT, 2022-06-01)
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    Colonization Calls My Home a Disturbed Area: A Conversation
    Iralu, E ; Kikon, D ; Goldstein, A ; Trujillo, SV (Common Notions, 2022-01-01)
    Authoritarian political leaders and violent racist nationalism are a resurgent feature of the present historical conjuncture that will not be resolved by electoral politics or bipartisanship. The widespread support for Donald Trump in the United States, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Narendra Modi in India, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, and Viktor Orbán in Hungary, among others, is an expansive turn to counterrevolution and punitive governance in an era of escalating ecological crisis, political antagonism, and social uncertainty.1 Responding to the urgency of the current moment, For Antifascist Futures: Against the Violence of Imperial Crisis explores what the analytic of fascism offers for understanding the twenty-first century’s authoritarian convergence. The essays and interviews included in this collection build a critical conversation that centers the material and speculative labor of antifascist, antiracist, and anticolonial social movements and coalitions. These inquiries deliberately connect multiple world contexts to consider what fascism and antifascist movements might mean during the current moment or historically with relevance for the current moment
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    Extractive Stories and Theories in Northeast India
    Kikon, D (Seminar, New Delhi, 2022-03-01)
    NORTHEAST India is a region rich in resources. Experts arrive here to extract information, data, and mine for minerals from nature. Yet the experiences and lives of people on the ground are often removed from the analysis. Just like in the past, present and future careers and experts emerge by mining data from the region. However, researchers fail to recognize the communities and their relations with the land as acceptable forms of knowledge. Stories that are integral for indigenous lives are regarded as empirical fodder. This is all there is to it. For reviewers, existing scholarship on the region written by tribal scholars either lacks analysis or is devoid of concepts for serious academic readers. They are accused of neither offering central arguments nor theoretical assertions, in addition to failing to engage the audience. Their efforts are, at best, admirable. What good is any scholarship that merely offers a series of observations about lived experiences, which are inconclusive? At best, exhausted reviewers dismiss tribal scholarship as mere stories. Tribal scholars are accused of stringing along stories and descriptions because they lack the analytical sharpness to draw from existing literature. Their scholarship promises but fails to deliver anything that can be considered as analyses. These views are distilled and transcribed from my experiences as a tribal ethnographer working in Northeast India for more than two decades. The world of academic scholarship and experts seldom finds it necessary to introspect how research and the production of knowledge and intellectual authority constitute a fortified realm of reason founded on hierarchies. Ethnographers take a lot for granted. One aspect involves the process of listening to stories. Writing down or recording stories includes transcribing, coding, and interpretating the connections. While concepts of entanglement and assemblage have become attractive to analyse resource frontiers and extractive regimes in the last decade, these are terms one encounters in academic journals. During fieldwork, I doubt if many of us would teach community members who narrate stories about living in extractive zones that their lives are an ‘assemblage’ or ‘entangled’. Imagine doing that! We formalize and categorize their lives into concepts, and then further argue to elaborate the mastery of our training and skills to showcase academic expertise and authority.
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    Bamboo Shoot in Our Blood Fermenting Flavors and Identities in Northeast India
    Kikon, D (UNIV CHICAGO PRESS, 2021-08-01)
    This essay draws from my ethnographic fieldwork in Northeast India and examines how identities are mediated through fermented food like bamboo shoot. These shoots come in different textures and forms: wet chunky pieces, sun-dried and stringy threads, smoked and curly strands. Our relationship with fermented food, as this essay highlights, determine how we organize, move, and order our lives, contributing to the creation of differences and alliances. At a time when we witness a global movement on fermenting cultures and the microbial world, this essay locates small-scale nonindustrial fermentation practices among communities across Northeast India. Exploring the significant role of food in shaping taste, practices, and politics on the ground, I show how fermenting cultures shape citizenship practices and identities. By highlighting narratives and representations of fermented food, this essay brings the extraordinarily varied and dense worlds of fermenting cultures and highlights the associative relationship between fermented food and communities.
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    Dirty food: racism and casteism in India
    Kikon, D (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-08-20)
    This article traces how food cultures in India reiterate social hierarches and caste logics of cleanliness and purity. Religious, intellectual and aesthetics battles about food preferences underline how the upper caste sensibilities justify and regulate everyday consumption and dietary practices. An integral part of Brahminical power is based on regulating and upholding dietary taboos grounded on caste ideology. Drawing from my ethnographic research on racism, migration, impunity in India over the last two decades, I examine key debates on racism and casteism, and illustrate how the rise of food-based discrimination against migrants from Northeast India is founded on an upper caste practice and logic of contamination, filth, and hygiene. I offer the concept of ganda (dirty) food to highlight how casteism and racism are informed by an upper caste reasoning of superiority, contamination, and privilege in India.
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    Caste and the Corporation, in India and Abroad
    Kikon, D (The University of Melbourne, 2021-07-15)
    India’s caste system remains alive and thriving, both in India and in its global diaspora. Seven decades after the passing of laws to fight discrimination, caste continues to dictate who Indians can marry, their prospects for education and jobs, and even where they may live. Caste’s pernicious effects also extend to businesses, from Mumbai to Silicon Valley, holding sway over both individual careers and corporate performance. Prof Hari Bapuji and Dr Dolly Kikon join presenter Ali Moore to discuss the growing reach of caste in a globalised world.
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    Our (De) Colonial Stories: Letters Between a Lepcha Geographer and a Naga Anthropologist
    Kikon, D ; Gergan, MD (RAIOT: Challenging the Consensus, 2021-06-02)
    Letter between a Lepcha Geographer and a Naga Anthropologist An essay about decolonization and indigenous pedagogy.
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    Seed stories in Nagaland: The entanglement of farmers, states agents, and agricultural students
    Kikon, D ; Karlsson, BG ; Rabo, A (The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, 2021-04-23)
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    The Logistics of Advocacy
    Kikon, D (https://www.fieldguidetologistics.com/post/logistics-of-advocacy, 2021-04-22)
    The 2020 drastic lockdowns in India resulted in the closure of schools. In Nagaland, the logistics of mobilizing care and protection for vulnerable children from violent homes became a rallying point for frontline community workers and grassroots advocacy groups. The image represents how existing inequalities and gender violence exacerbated globally. The sharp increase in gender-based violence witnessed a flow of battered partners and children in rehabilitation homes. New networks of community workers and legal teams emerged to provide support structures. Shifting between the police station, legal office, and the rehabilitation homes, children from violent homes were unable to attend online classes due to the prevailing situation, and also for the lack of logistical support like mobile phones, data services and computers. Consequently, rates of dropout increased during the pandemic. Completed in October 2020, the artwork titled “Police man came dad in jail”, is sketched by a 7 year old child living in a rehabilitation home in Dimapur (Nagaland). The image is a manifestation of the personal nightmares of a small child. Yet, it was also emblematic of the larger tragedies experienced by millions of vulnerable and precarious migrants forced to undertake a long march back home from jobs, workplaces that disappeared overnight in India. The above image is part of a photo/video exhibition titled, “During the Pandemic” that showcases the logistics of advocacy to gender violence during the pandemic. (http://www.dollykikon.com/engagements/during-the-pandemic)