Kelsey J. Utne F'21

Kelsey J. Utne
Doctoral Candidate
History
Cornell University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2021
Doctoral Candidate
History
Cornell University
Corpse Politics: Disposal and Commemoration of the Indian Interwar Dead, 1919-1939

Bridging necropolitics and critical heritage studies, this project constructs of transnational history of the British Indian dead. This project’s approach reorients Eurocentric scholarship on memorialization and the dead by centering colonial subjects rather than colonizers. Assembling diverse sources in English, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, and Arabic, it explores how the materiality and commemoration of the dead altered physical, bureaucratic, and social landscapes in the decades between two world wars. During this period, an emergent South Asian public challenged the colonial state over who possessed sovereignty over the living and the dead, and the management of corpses became grounds on which political and cultural authority was forged. The project argues that colonial era memorialization has been inextricably tangled with the power of the South Asian dead to manufacture political meaning and define communities.