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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Honorary Professorial Lecture by Prof Veena Das. Ordinary Realism, Skepticism, and the Making of Legal Subjects

Honorary Professorial Lecture

28th June, 2-4pm, Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre, CLC 202,

Followed by drinks reception

Ordinary Realism, Skepticism, and the Making of Legal Subjects

Professor Veena Das

(Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University)


How are legal subjects made through a braiding of fact and fiction? In this paper I explore the hinges and meshes through which power and knowledge flow and the contingencies through which sexual violence is episodically propelled into publicity or allowed to remain unacknowledged into the interstices of life in the neighborhoods in Delhi I have studied. I ask how questions of intelligibility pose themselves in the scene of the courtroom, in contrast to that of the neighborhood? While I show that skepticism about that which is before one’s eyes is not ever extinguished once and for all, there are moments of overcoming through enactments that I name as an ordinary realism.