More-than-human supremacy: Himalayan lessons on cosmopolitics

Mona Bhan, Radhika Govindrajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How might our analysis of fascism be enriched if we turn our attention to how contemporary supremacist movements self-fashion themselves as more-than-human formations? How is fascist politics naturalized through claims that it is fueled by the agency and vitality of not just humans but also other-than-humans? How do right-wing supremacists’ assertions that theirs is an indigenous more-than-human politics that suffered but endured the violence of colonialism support the framing of fascism as a decolonizing project? In this article, we ground these questions in an ethnographic analysis of what we call the more-than-human turn in contemporary Hindu-supremacist politics in the northwestern Himalayan region, focusing specifically on two political projects: the Hindu right-wing's rediscovery of “ancient” Hindu rivers and communities in Ladakh and cow protection in Uttarakhand. In contrast to ontological anthropologists who suggest that cosmopolitics is plural and liberatory, we demonstrate how the inclusion of nonhuman entities in political life can serve to naturalize a fascist politics that seeks the extermination of those who are not part of the natural order of life. We urge anthropologists to make room for skepticism and critique in their analysis of cosmopolitical formations instead of prematurely celebrating “ecopolitics” as anti-Western and anticolonial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Himalayas
  • cosmopolitics
  • fascism
  • more-than-human
  • ontology Hindu supremacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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