Book Salon with Michael Busch – 12 | Saiba Varma
The Polis Project is excited to welcome UC San Diego’s Saiba Varma to our Virtual Book Salon. On Friday, December 4 she will join us to discuss her new book, The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir (Duke University Press). Based on extensive field work in Kashmir, the book traces the overlapping and sometimes mutually constitutive dynamics of militarism and humanitarianism, harm and care in the most densely militarized space in the world. Varma demonstrates that these dynamics draw on Kashmir’s colonial history and produce a space in which the meanings of medical practice, hurt and healing are disrupted and disarrayed for doctors, patients, and academics alike.
Since the Book Salon, there have been serious allegations against Saiba Varma’s ethnographic research practice. You can read here a response to the controversy by Kashmiri scholars and here a critique by 53 scholars of South Asia. And in this essay, Francesca Recchia addresses the broader ethical issues that the controversy has raised.