It was the 28th Anniversary of the Bhopal Gas disaster last week, and by a combination of coincidence and choice on my part, I’ve talked about Bhopal quite a bit over the past few weeks.
Firstly, I spoke in a Departmental seminar a week ago. There I used Bhopal as a case study to think through some potential linkages between Assemblage theory and Partha Chatterjee‘s concept of political society. I’ve attached the powerpoint here. I’m not sure how far this will go, but it was a useful attempt to think through some of the critiques of both of these ideas and try to come out of the other side with something that may or may not be a workable combination of the two. The advantage of presenting in a friendly atmosphere at your home institution is it gives you a chance to experiment with ideas in a way which I wouldn’t have done elsewhere. If anyone would like to chat about these things more, then feel free to drop me a line.
However, back to Bhopal – I also used it to teach and have a chat with some of the Third year students at Liverpool taking a module run by myself and Pete North on ‘The Geographies of Protest’ (or ENVS387 should you like the official code!). In that lecture, I showed a film that was made by a Liverpool medical student doing work in Bhoppal a few years ago. Called Sambhavna, I think the students enjoyed watching it, and its a useful length for showing in lectures. The longer film that I want to show them at some point is called Bhopali, which deals with the activism/struggle for justice much more clearly. One of the things I’m interested in doing is trying to encourage awareness about the continuing legacy of the disaster, and the way that the city is still affected by the disaster. This is something I’m working on, and think is particularly important given the way that the 30th anniversary of the disaster is only a few years away.