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How to Sustain a Strike: Rules, Routines, and Logistics in Kashmir
Nishita  Trisal

This talk examines the politics of the general strike (hartal or bandh) in Indian-Administered Kashmir. Drawing on 22 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the capital city of Srinagar amidst and in the aftermath of the indefinite strike of 2016-2017, I highlight how the strike leaders relied upon a number of spatio-temporal techniques to coordinate and routinize the actions of the Kashmiri public. As I demonstrate, these routinizations involved both upholding the strike as well as, counterintuitively, breaking it. On the one hand, a successful strike was a total one: shops shuttered, everyone in their homes, a display of unity and resistance against the state. On the other hand, a number of workers, from bank employees to public transport operators, broke the strike to provide the “essential services” needed to maintain everyday life. By emphasizing these relations of interdependence between strike breaking and strike enforcement, I direct attention to the logistics and labor that sustain political mobilizations.

Faj' (Fright) and Khawf (Fear): Physical, Psychic, and Spiritual Borders
Ashwak Hauter

This talk will examines the intersection of geopolitics, medicine, and ‘afiya (physical, psychic, and spiritual well-being) in the borderlands between Yemen and Saudi Arabia at the margins of war. It will center on the case of Kareem, a Yemeni refugee hospitalized in Saudi Arabia for persistent jaundice. When Hauter met Kareem, he recounted his looming fear that his nafs (self/soul) would be broken if he were to request biomedical care and be rejected. While Kareem was physically safe and secure in his Saudi Arabian hospital bed, he longed to return to Yemen to be in the care of his indigenous healer (mushfi). The fear of the break of the soul/self was unmatched by the fright he felt as he crossed a poorly lit desert border on foot, feeling threatened by desert mountain predators and border militias. Drawing on theories and topologies of the soul/self in al-Ghazali, Ibn Sina, and Sigmund Freud and the evolving historical and political relations between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, Hauter will explore why Kareem finds this fear and its resulting psychic pain to be more pressing than the border crossing fright. Returning to Franz Fanon’s clinical cases in Algiers and on the question of depersonalization in the post colony, he will explore how this fear conjured and presupposed a fractured Muslim community, the end of neighborly hospitality, and the breaking of a shared lineage was compounded by the fractured image of the Yemeni. This paper lingers with the symptoms of fear, fright, and the break of the self/soul that erupt as postcolonial disorders in order to consider the importance of psychic well-being in the effectiveness of medicine.  


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