Two scholars who have worked in prison spaces in India for decades reflect on how these de-humanizing spaces hold up what it means to be human. Mahuya Bandyopadhyay, associate professor of social anthropology at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, studies manifestations of the carceral mesh in contemporary urban society. She will revisit her ethnographic work in Kolkata Central Jail which informed her 2010 book, Everyday Life in Prison: Confinement, Surveillance, Resistance, and discuss her current project translating the memoir of Meenakshi Sen, a political prisoner imprisoned during the Naxalite movement. She finds everyday sensorial narratives unravel the human subject and create webs of intersubjectivity. Vijay Raghavan is a professor of criminology and justice at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and director of Prayas, a criminal justice project that works to protect the legal rights and social re-entry of women, children and youth. Professor Raghavan will talk about the mediated stereotypes of prisoners that circulate in society, and share how he has come to view the prison complex as a web of relationships based on power dynamics and exploitation, and yet one that has the ability to humanize.
Join an online conversation between Mahuya Bandyopadhyay, Vijay Raghavan, and Leela Prasad (Professor, Religious Studies, Duke University). This event is part of the Carceral Imaginary Working Group at the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. It is cosponsored by the Center for Documentary Studies and the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University.