Talk: 'Explorations into the Dynamics of Resistance and Dwelling Rights'

Event Details

October 3, 2016
6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Tobin Hall

Room: 423

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Debbie Weyl

Jai Sen speaks on "Explorations into the Dynamics of Resistance and Dwelling Rights."

Based  in New Delhi, India, and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded Algonquin territory, he is an architect by training and first practice, then an activist around the rights of the laboring poor based in Kolkata, India and now a student of the history and dynamics of movement.

Seeing critical reflection as a potent contribution to building transformative power, his present work is around creating spaces for reflection in and on movement, in different media. Author/editor/co-editor of several books and articles on (the dynamics and globalization of) movement, he is a director at CACIM (Critical Action : Centre in Movement) and co-coordinator at OpenWord. He was a Canada Council research fellow during 1973-75, senior fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research during 1992-95, and Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow during 2004-6. 

Sen describes his talk: "Movements, even for social justice, are often complex things, and sometimes have deep inversions that on the surface – and especially in terms of history and of who writes it – barely show.  This presentation will critically explore the complex dynamics of one of the largest movements in the history of India, involving the struggles of a million and a half people to gain a secure place to live – but through this also their freedom from historical bondage over a thousand years - from the 1920s through to the 1970s, and where through this, the movement also intertwined with wider movements for independence taking shape at that time.  The movement therefore contributed in many ways to the democratization of a recently independent society; but where, as I say, the way its history has been written, and because of who wrote it, their objectives, and the compunctions they faced, this movement of such profound historical importance is hardly known, as such.  It will be an exploration of deeper meanings and of complex subordinations.

I want to underline that this is not just a study of history, important as that is, or an exercise in party-bashing (since what became a very significant political party gave the movement its leadership).  From my experience of direct frontline organizing for a decade and a half, of two decades of solidarity work with a wide range of social and political movements, and of a decade of research into the deeper dynamics of movement in India and in Brazil, I believe that these are patterns that continue to be widely manifest both in party and in independent movement, and so where I believe that drawing lessons from significant experiences can contribute richly to strengthening contemporary and emerging movement and resistance. 

I also want to emphasize that the presentation will be on the basis of an incomplete essay that was written a while ago on the basis of what was, and remains, incomplete research. In short, it is work-in-progress."

The talk is part of the Resistance Studies Initiative Fall Speaker Series in which distinguished researchers and activists share critical reflections on resistance issues.


​Refreshments will be served.

Event Category

Diversity Sociology