A Geopolitics of Intimacy and Anxiety: Religion, Territory, and Fertility in Leh District, Jammu and Kashmir, India
AuthorSmith, Sara Hollingsworth
AdvisorMarston, Sallie A.
Committee ChairMarston, Sallie A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWhat happens when bodies are the territory through which geopolitical strategies play out? In the Leh district of India's contested Jammu and Kashmir State, religious identity has become politicized and Buddhist/Muslim conflict is being articulated at the site of the body. This dissertation contributes to political geography by exploring intimacy and fertility as geopolitical practice. In Leh, political conflict between Buddhists and Muslims is being enacted through women's bodies. Activist members of the Buddhist majority are encouraging Buddhist women to maximize fertility and avoid marrying Muslim men in order to maintain Buddhist electoral control. When women's bodies are instrumentalized and geopolitical strategy seeks to control desire, how do women cope with or resist these pressures? Can the body be an effective site of resistance against the politicization of religion and intimacy? My dissertation research consists of over 200 interviews and surveys of Buddhist and Muslim women in Leh district, as well as a participatory oral history project that engaged students in Leh with these difficult questions. The research explores how the politicization of marriage and fertility is affecting decision-making, how women negotiate religious and political pressures to participate in pro-natal territorial struggles, and how emergent geopolitical religious identities shape visions of the future.