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The Erasure of Kashmir’s Autonomy and the Myth of Gender Discrimination - Ather Zia
The Erasure of Kashmir’s Autonomy and the Myth of Gender Discrimination - Ather Zia
WhenThursday, Feb 6, 2020, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationThomson Hall (THO)
Campus room317
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsSouth Asia Center

The Erasure of Kashmir’s Autonomy and the Myth of Gender Discrimination
Lecture by Ather Zia (University of Northern Colorado)

The autonomy of the Muslim majority Indian Occupied Kashmir was annulled without consent on August 5, 2019. Since then the region has been under communication lockdown and curfews, resulting in a humanitarian crisis. The right-wing Hindu supremacist government in India held gender discrimination in Kashmir as one of the foremost reasons for the removal of the region's autonomy. In the Indian narrative, the framing that Kashmir's autonomy allowed for gender injustice was made to appear as a natural outcome of the stereotype of Kashmiri patriarchy which is portrayed as violent and cracking down on women. This paper will analyze the Supreme Court case in India which was made pivotal in framing the gender discrimination angle in the removal of autonomy. At the same time, it will illustrate how the gender discrimination angle went unchallenged because it fit the established stereotype of Kashmiri patriarchy in the Indian imagination and of which autonomy was seen as a virulent manifestation and thus, something to be dismantled. This paper will also look at the various ways that feminist voices in India also supported the government's decision and by implication the military annexation of Kashmir.

Ather Zia is Associate Professor Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. She is a political anthropologist, poet and short-fiction writer.

Ather is the author of "Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir" (June 2019) and co-editor of "Resisting Occupation in Kashmir" (Upenn 2018) and "A Desolation called Peace" (Harper Collins, May 2019). She has published a poetry collection "The Frame" (1999) and another collection is forthcoming. Ather’s ethnographic poetry on Kashmir has won an award from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit and is the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the Kashmir region.

Ather continues to write opinion pieces for the mainstream magazines like Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, Outlook, Global Voices and more.

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