Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
In this paper, I examine how varied strands of political action around dispossession in India’s Central Himalayan region engage and fold in a range of nonhuman actors, including cows, rivers, and mountains. In particular, I analyze how right-wing Hindu cow-protectionists articulate and enact a politics that is fueled by outrage over the dispossession of the rights of these other-than-human beings. How does this ostensibly capacious and plural framing of a politics of dispossession enact its own violent dispossessions, particularly of the rights to life and livelihood of Muslims and Dalits who work in the cattle industry but also of rural mountain dairy farmers, more broadly? I trace how dairy farmers and leather workers respond to this politics by imagining a different politics of more-than-just-human dispossession, one that is based on a recognition of the mutual expropriation of human and non-human labor, particularly feminized labor.