Dolly Kikon, "Living with Oil and Coal: Resource Politics and Militarization in Northeast India" (U Washington Press, 2019)


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In Living with Oil and Coal: Resource Politics and Militarization in Northeast India(University of Washington Press, 2019), anthropologist Dolly Kikon offers a rich account of life in the midst of a landscape defined by multiple overlapping extractive industries and plantation economies, and of the social relations through which a resource frontier comes into being. Examining the foothills at the border between the states of Assam and Nagaland, she describes the histories of tea plantations, oil exploration, and coal mining, the role of mobility and migration, the security apparatuses that has evolved over decades of conflict and militarization, and, most strikingly, the way these forces shape and are manifest in the daily course of life of those inhabiting the region. In this episode of New Books in anthropology, Dolly Kikon and host Jacob Doherty talk about the role of hospitality in constructing resource frontiers, how morom (‘love’) works as an idiom to police ethnic purity and critique the state, the sociality of local markets, and the dreams and fantasies engendered by the carbon economy.

Dolly Kikon is a senior lecturer in anthropology and development studies at the Univerity of Melbourne. She is the author of the book Leaving the Land: Indigenous Migration and Affective Labour in India (Cambridge, 2019), and, among many others, the article “Fermenting Modernity” (South Asia, 2015).

Jacob Doherty is a lecturer in anthropology of development at the University of Edinburgh and, most recently, the co-editor Labor Laid Waste, a special issue of International Labor and Working Class History.

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