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English
Holloway Hall

"Rethinking Nation and Religion:
South Asia and the World"
Dr. Nyla Ali Khan,
Granddaughter of Sheik Abdullah, Prime Minister of Kashmir (1948-1953)

Thursday, May 3, 8:00 pm
Worcester Room, Commons Building, 2nd floor
Salisbury University

Abstract: Transnationalism implies a process by which geographical and political boundaries are transgressed, producing new social formations. Yet transnational politics often lead to cultural and religious fanaticism polarized between the "authentic" and the "demonic." How do transnational identities relate to traditional nationalist histories? This talk draws upon examples from India and Kashmir, and their associated diasporas in the US and the UK, including the infamous 1992 destruction of the Babri mosque in northern India by Hindu fundamentalists. I question the exclusivity of cultural nationalism, the spread of religious fundamentalism, and the irrational resistance to cultural and linguistic differences. I look at the historical and religious forces involved in the forging of a nationalist identity, especially in the context of postcolonialism. Understanding historical and social events through more than one framework allows me to highlight the variability of the critical spaces—intellectual, political, ethical, and gendered—that I, as a transnational subject, occupy.

Dr. Nyla Ali Khan is Visiting Professor in the Department of English, University of Oklahoma. She is the author of The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism (Routledge, 2005) and Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

Sponsored by the Department of English, the Office of the Dean of the Fulton School of Liberal Arts, and the Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Manav Ratti
Department of English
mxratti@salisbury.edu
(410) 548-3001

Endorsements of Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010):
"Once a community experiences the trauma of state-formation at its expense, its capacity to envision a different kind of political arrangement weakens. Happily, the myth may not have yet gelled in Kashmir. This is where Nyla Khan comes in."
-- Ashis Nandy, Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, India; author, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism

"The first thorough study of the tragedy of Kashmir done by a Kashmiri woman. Her account is dispassionate yet passionate in its concern for Kashmir. Here is a truly Kashmiri voice."
-- Neerja Mattoo, Emeritus Professor of English, Maulana Azad Government College for Women, Kashmir

"The first time a Kashmiri woman rises above herself, particularly in the last two decades of violence, and attempts to voice her opinion so emphatically. You will come to clearly understand through Nyla Ali Khan’s instructive style that a journey into Kashmir symbolizes a strange exaltation that is an indefinable quest but, like a torrential rainstorm, both cleansing and destructive."
-- Agha Ashraf Ali, Emeritus Chair, Department of Education, University of Kashmir; father of poet Agha Shahid Ali