PhD defended at:
This is a study on flourishing amidst the pahars (mountainscapes) of Northern Pakistan and Kashmir. It is on radical and incremental engagements through heartwork against the undoings of epistemic harms. It is an attempt to see and feel the multiply situated and unbounded labor, desires, and relationalities needed for some approximation of the social to allow life to flourish despite the violence it bestows. The research does not seek to sustain a singular narrative; its arguments are kaleidoscopic and elliptical. It weaves texture, color, pattern. It experiments with form and content to adequately accommodate complexity, non-linearity, ambiguity, and the openness of life. It is organized around the lives of non-normative subjects elaborated in six interconnected scenes. Their stories were gathered and nurtured during conversations around the fire and in the kitchen; while circulating in the landscape; cooking and eating together; being vulnerable, and “percolating” in “data.” True to form, each scene frames a compelling and urgent condition of life as shared by my research interlocutors. Read together or apart; the scenes offer plural readings of repair. The scenes are accompanied by poetic interludes which offer to take the reader’s pulse as modest expressions of accountability (and love). Together, they form the “fictions of social repair.” The research explores chronicity; the convergence of multiple forms of violence in the body, sociality, and subjectivity. It is about bruising, blisters, and chafed thighs. It is on sweat, tears, and being out of breath. The study embraces analytical indeterminacy and inconsistency to understand the present as durative, the past as malleable, and the future as unstable. It encourages reparative reading and writing to glimpse life’s willfulness and insistences. This is a work of restraint. It is about feeling, not just looking. It holds the reader and author accountable - to each other, to the text, and to research interlocutors. These stories are burdensome and demanding. They do not provide instructions for landing or guidance on how they should be read. They are the work of wounds, heartbeats, and heartaches. They will break your heart and ask you to fall in love.