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Public lecture of Prof. Dr. Kriti Kapila: Nullius: Owning and Dispossessing in Contemporary India

Lecturing Prof. Dr. Kriti Kapila (King's College London)

Basic information

May 4, 2023 at 11:00 to May 4, 2023 at 12:30
ZRC SAZU, Dvorana štirih letnih časov, Novi trg 4, 2. nadstropje

Organizer: Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies


Reaserch team of the reasearch Visionary Practices In Comparative Perspective: An Anthropology of the Imaginal (ARRS J6-3127) kindly invites to the public lecture

Professor Kriti Kapila (King's College London) Nullius: Owning and Dispossessing in Contemporary India

Lecture will be held on Thursday, 4.5.2023, at 11;00 at Dvorani štirih letnih časov ZRC SAZU, Novi trg 4, 2. floor, Ljubljana. Short presentation of lecture content and lecturer is given below.

Kindly invited!

Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, ZRC SAZU


Nullius: Owning and Dispossessing in Contemporary India

What is left when something is taken away? Anthropologists since Marcel Mauss have been fascinated by the excess generated in giving and with its hau, or that which exceeds the actual thing given in gift. This excess is generative of lingering relationality, of amplification or diminution of status, and of prompts that propel movement and exchange. But relatively little attention has been paid to the opposite of the gift-to what happens in the event of taking away. My book Nullius (HAU Books 2022) explores this obverse, the other excess that is generated in and through dispossession, and the relationality generated in its wake. Specifically, it presents an anthropological account of the dispossessing instincts of the Indian state as sovereignty-making and describes the relations that are created and cast anew in acts of erasure. At the heart of dispossession lies the question of ownership and any understanding of its erasure requires an understanding of owning, having, and holding, as well as what can and cannot be taken away. Who can take away and, when one's possessions are taken away, what indeed is left?
In my lecture, I will discuss these questions in relation to native title, museum objects, and personal data.

Kriti Kapila is Lecturer in Anthropology and Law at King's College London. She is currently completing her book manuscript on the politics of historical DNA and genomic medicine in contemporary India. Her research interests include the anthropology of the state, the law, and science. She has written on knowledge and state-making, politics of identification and indigeneity in India, and is currently developing a project on the digital state.

Dr. Kapila is a Visiting Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (2022-24) and Member, Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton (2023-24).

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