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[Transsystemic Law] Reflections on the Partitions of India and Palestine after 70 years: Conference Summary16 Aug 2018
What is Partition? How do we trace the histories of partition between the Palestine and South Asia?
The Middle East Institute and the Institute of South Asian Studies held a one-day workshop yesterday to consider these very questions amid increasing interest in the parallels between Indian and Palestinian political history. We kicked off the morning by calling to attention the imperialist nature of partition, setting it apart from other forms of territorial reorganisation such as federalism. Panel discussions sought to make better sense of the partition, first, by shifting attention towards geopolitical exigencies, unlike the usual approaches that centre on religious identity. Subsequently, the conference traced the historical connections of partition between Palestine and South Asia by investigating the conceptual similarities between the two regions, as well as both formal (archives) and informal (whispers and rumours) correspondence within the colonial administration. By looking at Islamist circles as well as folklore and cinema, conference participants also dispelled conceptions of non-state actors as subservient to the colonial project. The full-day workshop unearthed previously unanswered questions on the geopolitics of Palestine and South Asia as well as brought new ones to the forefront.