'Insertion' into law and impossibility of justice | Humanities & Social Sciences

'Insertion' into law and impossibility of justice

Tuesday Seminar
Bishnu Mohapatra
Date and Time: 
Tue, 06/09/2016 - 12:00am
02:57 PM to 04:27 PM
HSS Committee Room (MS 610)


Justice is always in excess of law. But its own remit appears curiously diminished in the light of larger moral imagination about fairness and wellbeing. How do we understand its appearance both in terms of 'excess' and 'reduction'? Justice bounded by law is all around us. There is an assumption that it is necessarily a good thing that more and more people and communities are claimed within the domain of law. But what about people who are not within 'law'? Can inserting people and communities into law involve some kind of foundational violence? Drawing upon literary and philosophical resources I explore the embattled relationship between law, justice, and moral landscape of fairness.


Trained in the discipline of politics, Bishnu Mohapatra has a strong interest in history, philosophy and literature. He studied in Odisha, Delhi and Oxford. Taught over two decades in University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University. Till recently he was a Professor at the School of Development of Azim Premji University, Bangalore. He has held visiting positions at Kyoto University, Japan and National University of Singapore, Singapore. Bishnu has published in the areas of democracy, social capital, minority rights, identity politics and dissenting imagination. Currently he is researching 'cities' by looking at their complicated history and contemporary imaginings. From 2002-2010 he headed the governance portfolio of Ford Foundation's South Asia office in Delhi.

Bishnu is a well-known Indian poet who writes in Odia. He has published four volumes of poetry and two volumes of translation of Neruda's poetry into Odia. He is in the process of completing a volume that deals with his poetic meditation on 'rain'.