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Violence of Democracy: A Book Talk with Author Ruchi Chaturvedi

20 Cooper Square 5th floor
New York NY, USA
Tuesday, September 19, 6:00pm7:30pm

The NYU Center for Humanities is excited to welcome Professor Chaturvedi (Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Capetown) to discuss her new book Violence of Democracy: Inter-Party Conflict in South India in conversation with Gianpaolo Baiocchi (Professor and Director, of Urban Democracy Lab, Gallatin). Moderated by Paula Chakravartty (James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media Studies, Associate Professor, Gallatin and MCC)

About the book

In Violence of Democracy Ruchi Chaturvedi tracks the rise of India’s divisive politics through close examination of decades-long confrontations in Kerala between members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and supporters of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and extensive archival research, Chaturvedi investigates the unique character of the conflict between the party left and the Hindu right. This conflict, she shows, defies explanations centering religious, caste, or ideological differences. It offers instead new ways of understanding how quotidian political competition can produce antagonistic majoritarian communities. Rival political parties mobilize practices of disbursing care and aggressive masculinity in their struggle for electoral and popular power, a process intensified by a criminal justice system that reproduces rather than mitigating violence. Chaturvedi traces these dynamics from the late colonial period to the early 2000s, illuminating the broader relationships between democratic life, divisiveness, and majoritarianism.


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