Neoliberalism, sovereignty and the disappearance of the ‘commons’ in contemporary India – Professor Sankaran Krishna

Free Public Lecture, Melbourne – 5 September 2012

The rise of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies is often acclaimed as a resurgence of capitalist accumulation under neoliberal auspices and a harbinger of better times for the Global South. Yet, their recent growth has been accompanied by one of the biggest land-grabs in the history of the modern world-system. Through the assertions of eminent domain; a redefinition of public welfare in corporatist terms; the reduction of sovereignty to ‘state sovereignty’; and physical violence; millions—mostly indigenous people and the agrarian poor—are being deprived of access to land and livelihood. In this preliminary investigation, Professor Krishna will focus on the actions of one of the world’s largest mining companies, Vedanta Corporation, in the Niyamgiri mountains region of the state of Odisha in India where a gigantic bauxite mine is under construction. The mines threaten the survival of the Dongria Kondh, an indigenous tribal community, and the unique flora and fauna of this region. The paper draws connections between, on the one hand, modernist definitions of property, sovereignty, economic growth, and natural resources, and, on the other, the disappearance of the ‘Commons’ and the indigenous in contemporary India.

About the speaker:

Sankaran Krishna is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. His most recent book was Globalization and Postcolonialism: hegemony and resistance in the 21st century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009) and he works in the areas of critical international relations and postcolonialism.  His current projects include papers on the fetishization of number as seen in the discourses on the GDP growth rate in India; the very different attitudes towards the Partition of the subcontinent reflected in southern India; and cricket as a window to understanding Indo-Australian relations at the present time.

Date:  Wednesday 5 September 2012

Time:  5.00pm-6.30pm (with refreshments following)

Venue:  RMIT City Campus, Research Lounge, (entry via RMIT Building 8, Level 5), 360 Swanston Street, Melbourne

RSVP:  email: by 29 August 2012 (the lecture is free but bookings are essential)