Anxiety and Authority in South Asia

Princeton South Asia Conference

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 9:00am to Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:15pm
Bowl 1, Robertson Hall
Event Category: 
Co-sponsored Event
Princeton University Community: Faculty, Fellows, Students, Staff

From fears of an imminent environmental crisis to pervasive concerns about security, we seem to be living in an age in which anxiety has permeated public discourse on an unprecedented scale.  While the intensity and scope of many contemporary fears might be new, recent scholarship has shown that anxiety -- broadly understood as fear without a definite object -- has been a longstanding feature of political life. No longer regarded as a purely private experience, anxiety has come to be recognized as an affective state that has shaped not only state policies but political subjectivities themselves.  Through their focus on anxiety, recent studies in disciplines across the humanities and social sciences have revealed the inadequacy of accounts that have viewed politics and the state purely through the prism of reason and rationality. In the context of South Asia, such studies have shown the extent to which the rule of the colonial and post colonial states has been marked by apprehensions emanating from epistemic and ontological uncertainties that have contributed to frequent slippages between the ordinary and extraordinary powers of the state. At a time when a politics of anxiety appears to have led to a surge in populism across the world, this conference examines anxiety as a public phenomenon in South Asia in both historical and contemporary contexts. 

The seventh annual Princeton South Asia Conference will bring together early career scholars across disciplines to discuss the theme “Anxiety and Authority in South Asia.” Panels will address a variety of topics under this theme, such as anxieties surrounding governance, borders, population, and the environment. The conference will also feature a keynote by William Mazzarella, the Neukom Family Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. 

For more details, see:

Conference program 

Sponsored by the Program in South Asian Studies, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, University Center for Human Values, Humanities Council, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Program in Law and Public Affairs, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of Religion, Center for the Study of Religion, Department of Psychology and the Department of English.