Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fitzpatrick on courtrooms and geography in Punjab

Hannah Fitzpatrick, University of St. Andrews has published "The Space of the Courtroom and the Role of Geographical Evidence in the Punjab Boundary Commission Hearings, July 1947" in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 42:1 (2019), 188-207. Here's the abstract: 
This paper examines the geographies of Partition through an analysis of the Punjab Boundary Commission hearings of July 1947. The paper asks: what happens when geographical expertise is transported from ‘the field’ to courtrooms and government offices? I argue that geography was transformed, and was managed and limited by the legal framework that judged evidence according to its own rules. Examining select records of the Punjab Boundary Commission, I argue that the courtroom created certain assumptions about the nature and role of evidence in boundary-making negotiations. Rather than applying evidence to create a workable boundary, evidence was put to work in often contradictory ways in order to lend competing political claims an air of geographical authority.
Further information is available here

-Mitra Sharafi