"Marginality, Mediation and the State" (July 3-4, 2015)

Marginality in South Asia and beyond has typically been conceptualized in two opposed ways. On the one hand, it has been attributed to people and places taken to be excluded from putative mainstreams. On the other hand, it has been identified as imbricated in processes of modern state-making and their accompanying notions of sovereignty. Whereas both approaches of exclusion and imbrication possess their distinctive strengths, they leave open the question of how marginality is produced. In this workshop, we seek to answer this question by examining practices of mediation that give rise to social hierarchies, e.g., those based on caste, class, gender, and region. In relation to marginality, we focus on relations of power underlying actors, objects, and ideas that naturalize conditions of social, economic, and political subordination. To understand the politics of mediation that produce forms of marginality, we call for close analyses of the sociocultural processes undergirding lived experiences of marginality in particular South Asian contexts.