Saiba VarmaDec 18, 2020
The Occupied Clinic
Militarism and Care in Kashmir
Duke University Press 2020
In her majestic and magisterial new book, The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir (Duke UP, 2020), Saiba Varma disrupts and upsets the care/violence binary by examining and vividly describing the violent state and non-state regimes and machineries of militarized care in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Among the central arguments of this book is that while the site of the clinic, meant to care and cure psychological ailment and trauma is often presented as distinct from the militarized violence of the Indian state in Kashmir, medicine and militarism are in fact intimately and ineluctably bound. Varma develops her argument over the course of a book that combines ethnographic intimacy and brilliance, with piercing attention to the brutality and irresolvable contradictions, inconsistencies, and fissures haunting state projects of domesticating populations through militarized care. Written with analytical clarity and lyrical panache, The Occupied Clinic will leave the reader shaken, provoked, enraged but also intellectually enriched and inspired. This will also make a terrific book to teach in various courses on settler colonialism, anthropology, South Asia, and Religious Studies.
SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listener feedback is most welcome.