How does the violation of body integrity as a public spectacle create limits on participation in the democratic order as full citizens for women? This lecture will track the lines of tension between the nation imagined as masculine and the promise of equal participation in democratic politics across the class, caste and gender divides. Does the experience of rising sexual violence in India and its public nature lead us to think more closely about the relation between social contract and sexual contract in democratic societies or is the case of India an aberration? The lecture will look at the difference between agreement as a basis for creating political community and ask how to widen our notions of consent.
Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Academy of Scientists from Developing Countries. Her most recent books are Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary (2007); Affliction: Health, Disease, Poverty (2015), and Textures of the Ordinary: Anthropological Essays, After Wittgenstein (2020).