The Dalit Liberation Movement in Karnataka, South India (ISGI Seminar 5 July)

Seminar hosted by the Institute for the Study of Global Issues, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University.

Aya Ikegame, Associate Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo

Wednesday 5 July, 13:15-15:00.

Room 3405, 4th floor, Mercury Tower, Hitotsubashi University Kunitachi Campus (see here for a map).

For centuries, Dalits (former untouchable communities of India) have been regarded as ‘polluted’ and ‘polluting’. They have thus been avoided, banned from any physical contact, secluded and excluded from mainstream caste society. To escape from severe and inhumane discrimination, many converted into Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. In 2001, M. C. Raj, a charismatic Dalit activist and writer, published Dalitology, new theology of Dalits. The controversial book attacked not only Brahminical Hinduism but also established religions including Buddhism and Christianity. Meanwhile M. C. Raj started the Adijan (Dalit) movement in the south Indian state of Karnataka which engages in multifaceted activities. This talk will discuss the social and cultural significance of Dalitology and the Adijan movement that have marked a clear departure from previous Dalit liberation movements in the region.

Aya Ikegame is Associate Professor, Graduate School of Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies and the Institute for Advanced Studies of Asia, the University of Tokyo. She obtained a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, the UK in 2007. She has worked for the University of Edinburgh, and the Open University in the UK before joining the University of Tokyo. She currently works on mathas (Hindu monasteries) and their social activities in South India, and Buraku issues in Japan. Her publications include, The Princely India Re-imagined: A Historical Anthropology of Mysore from 1799 to the present (Routledge, 2012) and The Guru in South Asia: New interdisciplinary Perspectives (co-edited with Jacob Copeman, Routledge 2012).

Banana Supply Chains (ISGI Seminar 10 May)

ISGI Seminar hosted by the Institute for the Study of Global Issues, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University.

Moral Infrastructures in the Making of Banana Supply Chains Between the Philippines and Japan

Alyssa Paderes, Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Anthropology, Yale University

Wednesday 10 May, 17:10-19:10

Small meeting room, Sano Shoin Hall, Hitotsubashi University Kunitachi Campus (see here for a map).

Global commodity studies is a flourishing body of literature, and its popularity attests to the appeal of the supply chain construct as a way to analyze globalization. Yet its “follow-the-thing” methodology has made it easy to forget other movements developing around the same commodity chain. For Filipinos living around banana plantations of the greater Davao region in the southern Philippines,there is a real sense of anxiety raised by the invisible capillaries of the banana supply chain. “Unthingy” matter like pesticide traces, illicit transactions of farm inputs are debris of the supply chain that cannot be captured, quantified, or regulated by modern logistics. As such, they require a wholly different set of politics and political actors.

In this presentation, I share my initial reflections on the overlooked distribution networks that course into and branch out of banana supply chains. I divide this into three sections: (a) Toxic Debris, (b) The Limits of “N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) Mentality,” and (c) Follow the Yellow “Brix” Road. I hope to demonstrate how extra movement into and from the supply chain complicates any clean way of understanding human and environmental costs and benefits of banana trade. Beyond the obvious stakeholders, who (and what) else is paying the price of bananas? What counts as “cost” in the first place?

These preliminary findings are based on 6 months of fieldwork around the multiple banana plantations of Mindanao, representing the first phase of an 18 month-long dissertation project between the Philippines and Japan.

— All welcome, no registration required —