What’s love got to do with it? Intimate Geopolitics: Love, Territory and the Future on India’s Northern Threshold (Rutgers University Press, 2020) by feminist political geographer Sara Smith tell us everything! Smith’s book centers intimacy in the consideration of geopolitics which is otherwise only seen as a game between nation states. The accounts of realized and failed inter-faith love across generations of Ladakhi Buddhists and Ladakhi Muslims in Smith’s book become the ground for the contesting of demographic fantasies, territorial futures and generation vertigo. Written with a careful consideration of the complexities of territorial politics in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and their intersections, Smith’s book also provides insights into the vulnerabilities of a minority identity–Shia Muslims and Buddhists, as well as its entanglements with the scalar politics of majoritarianism. By ‘populating territory’, Intimate Geopolitics is able to make clear the interweaving of reprosexuality, aspirations and intimacy as a territorial site in what is otherwise seen as a ‘remote’ region but crucial to the logic of the nation-state and its sovereign future.
Sara Smith is associate professor of geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Bhoomika Joshi is a doctoral student in the department of anthropology at Yale University.
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