Professional Experience

1989-continuing

 

Co-chair, Research Project on Armed Conflict and People’s Rights, Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, University of California at Berkeley: April 2012 – continuing

A research initiative to create a policy and protocol framework for protecting people’s rights in situations of internal armed conflict, focusing on India. Currently, there are active conflicts at various levels of intensity in, for example, Jammu & Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, and areas of the Northeast, with conflict-related issues intermittently recurring in Punjab. Such conflicts can lead to psychosocial and economic suffering of civilian populations in the affected areas, collapse of responsible governance, development, and social protection mechanisms, and can also have a broader disruptive effect impacting national, regional, and global security. This project brings together Indian and international experts to address specific conflict-related questions covering a range of issues governing:

    (i) The conduct of armed operations (by armed forces, paramilitary, and police, and non-state armed groups) in a manner consistent with the Indian Constitution and India’s commitment to international law and human rights; (ii) People’s rights and humanitarian considerations during and after conflict, including accounting for casualties and missing persons; supporting affected civilian populations as they recover from the effects of the conflict, in particular affected children, youth, women, disenfranchised groups, and minorities; responsible governance; and socioeconomic development and social protection programs; and (iii) Holding all parties to the conflict accountable, including through ensuring legal justice.

The project will also develop a set of technical protocols—specific norms, conventions, and procedures that pertain to transitional and transformative justice in areas and matters of current conflict and post-conflict. The Working Group will address:

  • Issues facing disenfranchised groups and minorities, and children, youth, and women impacted by the broad and specific consequences of: (i) State, group, and gendered violence, in particular the conduct of armed forces, paramilitary, and police, and non-state armed groups; (ii) Impunity laws and failures of legal justice; and (ii) Cultural and official nationalism, and communalism, that affect cultural and physical survival.
  • Ethical and legal imperatives, judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, the standards and steps, and suggested prototypes for: (i) Addressing gross human rights violations; (ii) Processes of truth and justice, including counter-memory and memorialization; (iii) Reparations processes, including symbolic initiatives and criminal prosecutions; and (iv) Implementing humanitarian actions.

 

Co-founder and Co-convener, International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir, San Francisco and Kashmir: April 2008 – continuing

Instituted and supported by the Public Commission on Human Rights, a constituent of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society. The People’s Tribunal inquires into the architecture of militarization and governance in Kashmir, and its continued impact on civil society, political economy, and human rights. In seeking to engender justice mechanisms, the People’s Tribunal has archived witness/survivor testimonies in developing records, and assessing them within sociolegal, rights-based, and ethical frameworks.

The Tribunal has:

  • The Tribunal has been undertaking extensive and primary research on human rights violations and the impact of militarization and conflict in Kashmir, focused on the period between 1990 and the present, documenting witness/survivor testimonies on, and creating records of, enforced disappearances, gendered and sexualized violence, torture, extrajudicial killings, minority disenfranchisement, and unknown and unidentified graves, legal-political states of exception, and the impunity allowed military and paramilitary forces.
  • The Tribunal has carefully established ethical relations to survivor communities and created spaces in which victims, survivors, and witnesses may speak about their experiences, understanding that to be crucial to processes of grieving and healing.
  • Based on applied research conducted between November 2006-November 2009, the Tribunal investigated and documented 2,700 unknown, unmarked, and mass graves, containing 2,943+ bodies, across 55 villages in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts of Kashmir.
  • The Tribunal has made recommendations and adjudicated on issues to Indian governmental bodies and international organizations, seeking to impact policy and discourse in defining the basis for prosecution and psychosocial restitution.
  • Based on Tribunal’s work on the issue of unknown and unmarked graves the European Parliament passed Resolution P6_TA(2008)0366 in 2008 and the UK Parliament introduced an Early Day Motion in 2009.
  • The Tribunal’s work on unmarked and unidentified graves was corroborated by the State Human Rights Commission, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in July 2011, leading to the first formal acknowledgement of the existence of unknown and unidentified graves in Kashmir by a state agency.

 

Faculty, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco: 1997-2011

  • Professor: Fall 2009 – Fall 2011.
  • Associate Professor: Fall 2000 – Spring 2009.
  • Interim Program Director/Department Chair: Spring 2008.
  • Adjunct and Visiting Assistant Professor: Spring 1997 – Spring 2000.

Since 1999, worked to enable the re-envisioning of the Anthropology Graduate Program to prioritize issues of social and ecological justice in the context of a multicultural, postcolonial world. Led by Department Chair Richard Shapiro, worked to reframe and shape a curricula that engaged cross- disciplinary frameworks in shifting the disciplinary boundaries that traditionally organized anthropology, wherein learning is empowered through dialogue and engagement, through rigorous training in critical social thought, advocacy research and human rights policy, community building and extracurricular activities, and residency in social and political worlds. This reframe enabled shaping scholarship that takes an advocacy position through complex and ethical engagement with the historical present. Responsibilities included defining and developing the graduate curriculum in applied, policy, and advocacy research; teaching core M.A. and Ph.D. courses, and advanced seminars; academic advising; supervising M.A. and dissertation research; organizing workshops, seminars, and conferences; and serving on institute faculty committees.

Graduate Courses and Seminars Developed and Taught:
  1. Engendering and Reframing Development
  2. Crosscultural Issues in Social and Environmental Justice
  3. Nation/Nationalisms: Gendered Encounters
  4. Contours of Violence: Systemic and Everyday
  5. Human Rights and Law
  6. Nation/Self-Determination: Religionization, Law, Governmentality
  7. Biopolitics: Culture and State
  8. Indigenous Cultural Survival: Genocide and Resistance
  9. Critical Discourses on Feminism
  10. Historiography: Genealogy as Deconstructive Practice
  11. History and Anthropology: Genealogy as Deconstructive Practice
  12. Marx/Foucault and Deconstruction
  13. A Genealogy of Social Movements: Culture and Politics
  1. Postcoloniality in South Asia: Confronting Religion, Nationalism, and Politics
  2. Colonization: Rethinking Silenced Histories
  3. History and Imagination of 20th Century
    Revolutions
  4. War and Peace: Alliance and Confrontation
  5. Marx/Foucault: Archaeologies of Revolution (Co-developed and taught)
  6. Applied Advocacy Research: Postcolonial and Feminist Practices
  7. Anthropological Research Methods
  8. Ph.D. Specialization Seminar
  9. Integrative Seminar for the M.A. (Co-developed and taught)
  10. Cultural and Political Dimensions of Social Change (Co-developed and co-taught)
  11. Humanities Research Colloquium (Co-developed and co-taught)

Service on Academic Committees:
• Anthropology Department Admissions Committee, 1999-2011; Chair.
• Human Research Review Committee-Institutional Review Board, 2004-2011; Chair 2002-2004.
• Faculty Evaluation, Promotion, and Scholarship Committee, 2006-2008; Co-chair 2007-2008.
• Institute Research Committee, 2004-2007.
• Faculty Appeals Committee, 2004-2005.
• Curricular and Academic Review Committee, 2002-2004.
• In addition, served on promotion and tenure committees at CIIS and other institutions, acted as referee, as reviewer for book proposals and journal articles, and on scholarship and grant committees, and served on curricular development committees (such as connected to the development of the Indigenous Honors Program at Boston University).

 

Research Director, Asia Forest Network, Berkeley: June 1999-January 2002
Work involved building capacity for policy research and action, and social change for the transfer of authority over public forest lands from state institutions to local communities in India, in collaboration with local community groups, donor agencies, and relevant state governments. Engaged diverse stakeholders in other member countries, including Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka, in developing research and policy mechanisms for donor and government accountability. In eastern India, in collaboration with local community and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), focused on the role and rights of women and tribal communities in local self-government using ethnographic research and oral history. Assisted in the preparation of a community-driven action plan for rural development in western Orissa, India, focused on livelihood and ecological security, poverty alleviation, and gender equity. Funded through various grants, including from the Ford Foundation.

Senior Consultant, SwedForest International/Natura, Stockholm: October 1997-May 1999
Capacity Building within Public Lands Reform in Orissa: Participatory project for the devolution of authority over public forest lands from state agencies to local communities. Conceptualization and coordination of diagnostic research that critically examined processes for transferring authority over forest lands from state agencies to local communities. The project, a first in South and Southeast Asia, documented shifts in ecological regeneration and community governance of forest lands. It facilitated the creation of a state level policy and action plan for authority transfer and co-conducted a statewide assessment of joint and community forest management. Funded by the Swedish International Development Agency.

Senior Consultant, Asia Forest Network, University of California, Berkeley: October 1996-August 1997
Participatory Manual for Community Resource Mapping and Management in India: Co-designed a manual for community resource mapping and microplanning, using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), in collaboration with local communities, NGOs, and the State Forest Department in Orissa. This manual was field-tested in 1,200 villages across Orissa and aided in community resource micromanagement processes. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

Project Director, Asia Forest Network, University of California, Berkeley: October 1995-June 1996 Socioecological Diagnostic Project in Atgarh and Sarangi Ranges of Dhenkanal Division in Orissa: Using participatory methods and GIS mapping, this project examined state forest department-local community collaborations in natural resource management since the mid-1970s, and assisted in a time-series analysis. Funded by the Wallace Global Foundation.

Project Director, Independent Project, West Bengal: November 1993-December 1996
Participatory action, ethnographic, and oral history research within eleven villages of the state-initiated participatory forest management program at Arabari, West Bengal, India. This project, the first formal assessment since the inception of the program in 1971, documented traditional and customary rights to land, the violations of rights, and submitted policy recommendations to the West Bengal Forest Department, and facilitated dialogue between the Arabari communities, NGO’s, and the Forest Department. Funded by the Ford Foundation and the Society for the Promotion of Wastelands Development.

Program Director, PeaceQuest International, Washington D.C. (In association with the American University, Washington D.C.): January 1993-September 1993
Planning, organizing, and conducting peace, human rights, and environmental justice education and citizen diplomacy programs for graduate students. Supported by PeaceQuest International.

Research Associate, Environmental Planning, Policy and Research Group, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi: July 1991-October 1992
Participatory research in three states in India; Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh, evaluating human-nature interaction in and around national parks, and the rights of marginalized groups. The project offered policy recommendations to the Government of India about the viability of these parks. Supported by the Government of India.

Consultant, Environment and Forest Division. Planning Commission of India, New Delhi: June 1990-June 1991
Assisted the team preparing India’s five-year plan and budget allocations for the Environment and Forest Sector, 1990-95. Networked with communities and NGO’s engaged in participatory regeneration, protection, and management of forests. Assisted the creation of a database of Indian NGO’s working with forest protection and ecodevelopment issues. Supported by the Planning Commission of India.

Associate Project Director, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi: June 1989-March 1990
Participatory research on socioeconomic ‘status’ and mobility of women in ten slums and resettlement colonies of Delhi and the context in which civil liberties and constitutional rights were endangered. This project submitted its policy recommendations to the Human Resources & Slum Development Wing, Delhi Administration, on rural-urban migration and rehabilitation. Supported by the Indian Social Institute and the Government of India.