Universiteit Leiden

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Workshop: Caste and Diplomacy

Monday 22 May 2023 - Tuesday 23 May 2023
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference room (2.60)

This workshop considers the role of caste in diplomacy and international relations. As a system of social stratification and exclusion, which as Suraj Yengde writes, is ‘invested in purity, pollution, endogamy, hierarchy, and inflexibility locked in birth’, caste offers a lens through which to study global hierarchies and power. However, it is often understood as a South Asian specificity, rather than as a global system of exclusion. This project undertakes to discuss the ways in which scholarship on caste can inform our research agenda and pedagogical practices in International Relations, specifically, and in humanities, in general.   

While caste has often been studied as a sociological category of structural deprivation, it is an insidious form of power relation making it a relevant category of analysis for international relations. There are two ways in which caste shapes diplomacy and international relations. First, as an experiential category, it plays a constitutive role in the making of South Asian diplomacy and international relations. And second, as an analytical category, it allows for deeper probing on the structures of power that operate in world politics. This workshop attempts to understand how caste, both as an experiential as well as an analytical category, shapes diplomacy and international relations.  

(This workshop has been made possible through funding from The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, The Institute for History and the Faculty of Humanities.) 

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