Justice as Art, as Artifice and as Advertising Billboard

Wed February 17th 2021, 9:00 - 10:30am
Event Sponsor
Center for South Asia at Stanford University in collaboration with Stanford's Center for Human Rights and International Justice and the Institute of South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley
Zoom Webinar
Admission Information

RSVP for this event

Justice as Art, as Artifice and as Advertising Billboard

This talk explores, in a preliminary manner, how the ‘normal’ art and artifice of delivering justice and accepting what is delivered as justice in a highly unequal society changes under authoritarian regimes. What happens when justice assumes the form of an advertisement for the ruling regime? Drawing on recent acts of omission and commission by the Indian Supreme Court, Nandini Sundar will look at what is being advertised, who is advertising, and who is being persuaded. When the law acts as a vigilante but also draws on its authority, doubling up as both jailor and saviour, what is left of the art of law or justice?

Nandini Sundar is Professor of Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University. Her recent publications include, The Burning Forest: India’s War against Maoists (Verso 2019), which has been translated into Gujarati, Tamil and Telugu; and four edited volumes, Reading India: Selections from Economic and Political Weekly 1991-2017 (co-edited, Orient Blackswan, 2019); The Scheduled Tribes and their India (OUP, 2016); Civil Wars in South Asia: State, Sovereignty, Development (co-edited, Sage 2014); and Inequality and Social Mobility in Post-Reform India, Special Issue of Contemporary South Asia (co-edited, 2016), as well as journal articles on democracy, authoritarianism and academic freedom.  She was awarded the M.N. Srinivas Memorial Prize, 2003, the Infosys Prize for Social Sciences (Social Anthropology) in 2010, the Ester Boserup Prize for Development Research, 2016 and the Malcolm Adiseshiah Prize for Distinguished Contributions to Development Studies, 2017.

Moderated by: Aarti Sethi, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley


This event is part of the Arts and Justice series, in which all speakers’ interrogations are timely explorations of religious freedom and the freedom of speech. How does the State condone, facilitate, and encourage religion, class, and caste based carceral violence? What is the role of the Arts in visibilizing this violence? This series builds on the Stanford Arts Institute’s program on carceral justice and takes the conversation to South Asia.