Abstract: Law and violence are thought to share an antithetical relationship in postcolonial modernity. Violence is considered the other of law, lawlessness is understood to produce violence, and law is invoked and deployed to undo the violence of lawlessness. Violent Modernities uses a critical legal perspective to show that law and violence in the New India share a deep intimacy, where one symbiotically feeds the other. Researched and written between 2008 and 2018, the chapters study the cultural sites of literature, cinema, people’s movements, popular media and the university to illustrate how law’s promises of emancipation and performances of violence live a life of entangled contradictions. The book foregrounds reparative and ethical accounts where law does not only inhabit courtrooms, legislations and judgments, but also lives in the quotidian and minor practices of disobediences, uncertainties, vulnerabilities, double binds and failures. When the cultural lives of law are reimagined as such, the book argues, the violence at the foundations of modern law in the postcolony begins to unravel.
Speaker: Oishik Sircar is a professor of law at Jindal Global Law School, an adjunct fellow at the University of Technology Sydney Law School and an associate member at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School. Oishik is the author of Violent Modernities: Cultural Lives of Law in the New India (Oxford University Press 2021) and the co-editor of New Intimacies, Old Desires: Law, Culture and Queer Politics in Neoliberal Times (Zubaan/ Chicago University Press 2017). Oishik’s forthcoming works are the monograph Ways of Remembering: Law, Cinema and Collective Memory in the New India (Cambridge University Press 2022) and the co-edited volume Desire and its Discontents: Queer Politics in Contemporary India (Zubaan/ Chicago University Press 2022). Oishik is the co-director of the award-winning documentary film We Are Foot Soldiers (PSBT 2010) on the collectivization of children of sex workers in Sonagachi, Kolkata.