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SCSNEI organises a seminar by Dr. Jelle J. P. Wouters

SCSNEI organises a seminar by Dr. Jelle J. P. Wouters

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SCSNEI organises a seminar by Dr. Jelle J. P. Wouters
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Monthly Seminar Series: 2021-22

Special Centre for the Study of North East India

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi



Dr. Jelle J. P. Wouters

Associate Professor in Anthropology and Sociology, Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan.


Time and Venue

3 to 5 PM, Friday, 24th September, 2021

Through Google meet at the following link:


Title of the Lecture

Desire and Delirium in Highland Northeast India


Abstract: This talk discusses the relationship between state, ethnicity, territoriality, and neoliberal capitalism in highland Northeast India. It will particularly focus on the socio-ecological and socio-political corollaries of this region’s rediscovery as a resource and capitalist frontier. It argues how new resource and capitalist flows lead both to the production of capitalist ‘desires’, which locally reveal as a delirium, and socio-ecological through the privatization, acquisition and depletion, mostly by ethnic tribal elites, of communal assets now embedded in newly capitalist relations, and to the intensification of a politics of exclusive ethno-territorial belonging and rights. One upshot of this is a dialectic between new neoliberal connectivity and ethnic ‘closure’ one that ensues in a frame of the specifics of governance and law in highland Northeast India.


About the Speaker

Dr. Jelle J. P. Wouters is Associate Professor in Anthropology and Sociology at Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan. Previously he taught at Sikkim Central University and was a visiting faculty at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany. Over the years, he has conducted ethnographic and historical research in the Naga highlands, writing about vernacular democracyand elections, political conflict, kinship and identity, and social history. Some of his writings appeared in Geopolitics, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Studies in History, and the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology. He is the author of In the Shadows of Naga Insurgency: Tribes, State, and Violence in Northeast India (OUP, 2018) and Nagas as a Society Against Voting and Other Essays (Highlander Press, 2019).

All are Cordially Invited

A warm welcome to the modified and updated website of the Centre for East Asian Studies. The East Asian region has been at the forefront of several path-breaking changes since 1970s beginning with the redefining the development architecture with its State-led development model besides emerging as a major region in the global politics and a key hub of the sophisticated technologies. The Centre is one of the thirteen Centres of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi that provides a holistic understanding of the region.

Initially, established as a Centre for Chinese and Japanese Studies, it subsequently grew to include Korean Studies as well. At present there are eight faculty members in the Centre. Several distinguished faculty who have now retired include the late Prof. Gargi Dutt, Prof. P.A.N. Murthy, Prof. G.P. Deshpande, Dr. Nranarayan Das, Prof. R.R. Krishnan and Prof. K.V. Kesavan. Besides, Dr. Madhu Bhalla served at the Centre in Chinese Studies Programme during 1994-2006. In addition, Ms. Kamlesh Jain and Dr. M. M. Kunju served the Centre as the Documentation Officers in Chinese and Japanese Studies respectively.

The academic curriculum covers both modern and contemporary facets of East Asia as each scholar specializes in an area of his/her interest in the region. The integrated course involves two semesters of classes at the M. Phil programme and a dissertation for the M. Phil and a thesis for Ph. D programme respectively. The central objective is to impart an interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of history, foreign policy, government and politics, society and culture and political economy of the respective areas. Students can explore new and emerging themes such as East Asian regionalism, the evolving East Asian Community, the rise of China, resurgence of Japan and the prospects for reunification of the Korean peninsula. Additionally, the Centre lays great emphasis on the building of language skills. The background of scholars includes mostly from the social science disciplines; History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, International Relations and language.

Several students of the centre have been recipients of prestigious research fellowships awarded by Japan Foundation, Mombusho (Ministry of Education, Government of Japan), Saburo Okita Memorial Fellowship, Nippon Foundation, Korea Foundation, Nehru Memorial Fellowship, and Fellowship from the Chinese and Taiwanese Governments. Besides, students from Japan receive fellowship from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.