Statues of Dis‘order’: Affinities Across Space And Time
September 24 @ 1:30 pm - 2:40 pm
Title of the Talk: Statues of Dis ‘order’: Affinities Across Space And Time
Name of Speaker: Dr. Sruthi Muraleedharan
Designation: Assistant Professor, Shiv Nadar University
Abstract: My research examines the politics of statues in framing identities, social relations and claim-making. Identity, symbols and spatial assertion exist in a mutually constitutive relationship. This paper aims at unpacking the politics of symbolism involved in the practices of dismantling or installation of statues in a political landscape. In the context of Dalit symbolism and politics of statues, it is often argued, that issues of dignity dominate over material needs and hence merely ‘symbolism’. I make use of the most powerful symbolic intervention in Dalit politics in recent times, the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Prateek Sthal, constructed during Mayawati’s political rule in Lucknow – to demonstrate not just its symbolic significance but it’s equally materialist spatial claim. Extending the same analytical lens the paper also traces the recent #GandhiMustFall campaign in the University of Ghana (Dec. 2018).The campaign which led to the removal of Gandhi’s statue from the campus and instead demanded Ambedkar’s, further pushes the broader question of whether politics around statues be dismissed just as ‘symbolism’? What are the transnational relatedness that one can draw through these symbolic interventions?
Speaker’s Bio: Sruthi Muraleedharan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies (IRGS), Shiv Nadar University (SNU). Sruthi obtained her doctorate from the Department of Politics and International Studies (SOAS). Her teaching and research interests range from politics of identity, performativity and symbolism, space and city, politics of South Asia, Gender Studies (South Asia, Africa and West Asia) and interdisciplinary research methods such as visual ethnography.