Coffee Hour: On the Land Question in India: Crisis and Discourse

Friday, September 25, 2015 - 3:30pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m. The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.


About the talk

The scarcity of land has created a triple crisis in India. (1) A price crisis, whereby urban and rural land prices are arguably the highest in the world, reinforced by severe income inequality. (2) An agricultural crisis, whereby three-quarters of agricultural households possess less than an acre of land and make less than $100 per month. (3) An acquisition crisis, resulting in a new law that is oriented to social justice but will effectively create a social tax on the majority. I present the broad outlines of these conditions, followed by a brief discussion on the resulting intellectual and political responses. I argue that the former are ideological and the latter opportunistic, and both are based partial or convenient or wrong information. I end with a few words on my embryonic attempt to theorize the post-colonial state in the information age.

About the speaker

Sanjoy ChakravortySanjoy Chakravorty is a professor of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University, and a Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania. He has worked on industrialization (Made in India, 2007) and income distribution (Fragments of Inequality, 2006). His most recent work has focused on issues of land (The Price of Land, 2013), immigration (The Other One Percent, 2016), and epistemology (The Truth About Us, 2016). His first novel (The Promoter, 2015) is set in contemporary Calcutta.      




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