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Join us to welcome Alpa Shah, Professor of Social Anthropology at London School of Economics, who will discuss her new book, The Incarcerations: BK-16 and the Search for Democracy in India.

As India’s elections reverberate around the world, The Incarcerations pulls back the curtain on Indian democracy in a sweeping, searing investigation into Indian fascism, cyber warfare and tech surveillance and democratic rights activism and resistance. Alpa Shah exposes the life-stories and shocking truth behind the arrests of the Bhima Koregaon 16 – professors, lawyers, journalists, poets fighting for the rights of India’s three main minorities – Adivasi, Dalits and Muslims – who have been imprisoned, without credible evidence and without trial. The case challenges India’s freedom of expression, unveils the undermining of democratic institutions including the press and the judiciary, and exposes the long history of democratic rights movements to protect India’s most vulnerable populations.

Essential and urgent, The Incarcerations reveals how this case is a bellwether for the collapse of democracy in India and discusses its ramifications for the future of human rights around the world. 

About the Speaker(s)

Alpa Shah is the award-winning author of Nightmarch and Professor of Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics. She also leads a research theme at the school’s International Inequalities Institute on Global Economies of Care.

Her research focuses on India and Nepal, examining topics including political and economic anthropology, the state, citizenship and revolutionary struggle, inequality and poverty, caste and class, and indigeneity. Much of her work is based on long-term ethnographic research living as a participant observer among the communities she writes about. 

She has written and presented for BBC Radio 4 shows "Crossing Continents" and "From Our Own Correspondent". She was raised in Nairobi, Kenya, studied at Cambridge and the London School of Economics, and now lives in London.

About the Discussant(s)

Abhishek Bhattacharyya is Teaching Fellow in Anthropology and the College at the University of Chicago. His work grapples with the shifting cultural and political consequences of “Naxalite” translations of Marxisms from the late 1960s through the 1990s, as well as their exchanges with, overlaps with, and divergences from different socio-political movements in South Asia during this period. He grew up in Kolkata and studied at the universities of Delhi, Oxford, Cambridge, and Chicago. 

  • Caste and Race Collective
  • Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Committee on Southern Asian Studies
  • Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture
  • South Asian Students Association
  • Pozen Family Center for Human Rights