Lawyers often speak of a culture of impunity to describe failed states or state failure to follow law, but the patterned and ongoing failure to secure justice over time shows how impunity is imbedded in the very workings of the state itself. Rape, often seen to be the crime of impunity because of the difficulty of securing both prosecutions and convictions, tends to normalize violence though forms of emblematic silencing and incitements to speech. In this paper, I ask what high profile cases of mass rape in the Gujarat violence of 2002cases that took several years to prosecute-- tell us about the layering of different forms of impunity over time, or deep impunity.
Speaker Bio Kamala Visweswaran writes in the fields of feminist theory and ethnography, South Asian social movements, ethnic and political conflict, human rights, colonial law, postcolonial theory, South Asian literatures, transnational and diaspora studies, comparative South Asia and Middle East studies. She has taught in Nepal and Sri Lanka, and worked in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, India, receiving Fulbright and American Institute of Indian Studies awards for her research, as well as fellowships at the University of Chicago Humanities Institute, the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard, the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies. She is an editor of the journal Feminist Studies, and was the North American editor of Cultural Dynamics (1998-2005). She is the author of Fictions of Feminist Ethnography (Minnesota, 1994) and Un/common Cultures: Racism and the Rearticulation of Cultural Difference (Duke, 2010). She is also the editor of Perspectives on Modern South Asia (Blackwell, 2011), and Everyday Occupations: Experiencing Militarism in South Asia and the Middle East (Pennsylvannia, 2013). Her current book under contract with Duke University Press is A Thousand Genocides Now: Gujarat in the Modern Imaginary of Violence.