Gender Studies Programme/School of Human Studies AUD
Invites you to the talk Bodies that Kill: Passions and/of Law in Homicide Cases
by Latika Vashist (Assistant Professor. Indian Law Institute, New Delhi)
At the heart of the legal framework are two foundational assumptions about the body – the body of law and the body of the legal subject. One, that law is a rational, self-contained system of universally applicable and transparently accessible rules; and two, that the subject of law is a free, independent, autonomous and rational actor. Through a close reading of selected homicide cases, where law confronts the bodies that kill – gendered, affective, violent bodies, bearing the invisible imprints of trauma - we will see how these foundational assumptions are flawed. That far from being a coherent, static body of rules, the law is emotional, slippery, self-contradictory and confounding. Similarly, despite law’s insistent erasure, the subject of law is a split, fractured, vulnerable subject burdened by her social and psychic history. We will also see that these cases point to a far more complex theory of the body (confined neither in Cartesian duality nor Massumian affects, but as carrying the traces of ‘psychical unconscious’) which may help us in evolving a legal ‘theory of readability’ that enters the psycho-biographies of the subject in order to arrive at justice in each case.
Latika Vashist is Assistant Professor at ILI. Prior to this, she was teaching at Jindal Global Law School of O.P. Jindal Global University. She obtained the LL.B. degree from Faculty of Law, University of Delhi and LL.M. from the Indian Law Institute. She completed her Ph.D. on the topic “Law, Feminism and Emotions : Working through the Legal Unconscious” from the School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi. Her areas of interest and research include feminist legal theory, criminal law and psychoanalysis.