Forthcoming in Antipode 53(2) in March 2021, and available online now, Azmeary Ferdoush’s “Sovereign Atonement: (Non)citizenship, Territory, and State‐Making in Post‐Colonial South Asia” takes us to the former border enclaves of Bangladesh and India. These small pieces of one state entirely surrounded by the other existed as extraterritorial spaces from 1947 until 2015. Since they were subject to state violence, but remained completely excluded from the protections provided by courts, police, and government, they have historically been understood as spaces of exception that contained bare lives. After the exchange of enclaves in 2015, the situation changed dramatically as the state assumed an active role in incorporating new lands and citizens.
Such an active role resulted in unique privileges exclusively for the enclave residents, understood here as sovereign atonement. Drawing on field research in Bangladesh, however, the paper argues that it would be misleading to understand sovereign atonement as an effort to correct the past violence of extraterritorial exclusion, instead exploring the primacy of territory, and role of special rules and new procedures, in state-making in post-colonial South Asia.
You can watch Azmeary talking about his paper, and read more about his research, below.
Md Azmeary Ferdoush is a postdoctoral researcher in the Geography Research Unit at the University of Oulu. His completed his PhD, from which this research emerges, at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and is currently working on a project titled “Transformation and Transnationalization of State Spaces: Geopolitics of Borders, Mobilities, and Planning in the Arctic (SPARCTIC)” at Oulu. You can read about his many publications and presentations, and research and teaching activities, at https://www.azmearyferdoush.net/