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Theorizing the Indian State

Lecture by Akhil Gupta, UCLA

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

In this talk, Akhil Gupta will present some of the framing arguments from his study of two Indian state bureaucracies. From fieldwork conducted in the tehsil-level offices of these bureaucracies, he will endeavor to construct a theory of the state in India. Whereas some of the literature has emphasized the strength of the Indian state and its seeming centralization, ethnographic approaches to the state discover something that is far more tentative and disorderly. The idea of "the state" is itself constructed out of the many everyday practices of bureaucracies, and this has profound consequences for the legitimacy of politicians and bureaucrats.

Akhil Gupta is professor in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA. He has previously taught at Stanford University and at the University of Washington. He is the author of several books, including Red Tape: Corruption, Inscription and Governmentality in Rural India (forthcoming, Duke Univ. Press), Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India (Duke Univ. Press, 1998), and, as editor, of The Anthropology of the State (Blackwell, 2006); Caste and Outcast (2002); Culture, Power, Place (1997); and Anthropological Locations (1997).

Jyoti Gulati310-206-2654

Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia

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