Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs
South Asia Center
Sovereign Atonement and the Making of Showcase Citizens Along the Borders of Bangladesh and India
Drawing on the experiences of India’s former border enclave residents inside Bangladesh after their exchange in 2015, Dr. Ferdoush contends that the Bangladesh state took extraordinary measures in incorporating them as citizens. Such exceptional measures resulted in a category of citizens that cannot be fully grasped with the existing vocabulary of citizenship. He offers the idea of sovereign atonement to comprehend the extraordinary measures undertaken by the state while showcase citizens refer to an exceptionally treated group who became subjects of special attention in certain spaces during a specific time. The key to understanding such exceptional treatments and special attention lies in our readings of post-colonial territory and state-making, sovereign in/exclusion, and performative governmentality.
Dr. Azmeary Ferdoush is a postdoctoral researcher in the Geography Research Unit at the University of Oulu, Finland. He specializes in political geography with a focus on the study of state, borders, and (non)citizenship in South Asia and, more recently, Arctic Finland. He is co-editor of Borders and Mobility in South Asia and Beyond, that came out in 2018 from Amsterdam University Press. Dr. Ferdoush’s papers have appeared in numerous outlets, including Antipode, Political Geography, Area, Geopolitics, Geoforum, and Ethnography. Before joining Oulu, Dr. Ferdoush pursued his doctoral studies and taught as a lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa.
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This event was published on October 15, 2021.