Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Harry Gould

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Iqbal Akhtar

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Thomas Breslin

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Benjamin Smith

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


South Asia, India, International Relations, Political Theory, Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Civilization, Critical Geopolitics

Date of Defense



This dissertation attempts to locate the intractable issue of Kashmir within a global context. The global setting utilized here is constituted and shaped by multiple levels, none of which is purely discrete, and which act upon each other with differing degrees of salience. Taking a discourse analytic approach, political positions can be seen as activating (acting upon, mobilizing, or challenging) existing discursive material in a given political context and then deploying it. This dissertation aims to show how the Kashmir problem has: 1) come about; that is, how it has been constituted and the (discursive) contexts which shaped the available political positions and respective power relationships attained, and 2) changed, tracing the changes and continuities of how the Kashmir issue has been defined, and within wider political contexts (communal, state, national, regional, international, global, etc.). This is done primarily through utilizing a constellation of discourses roughly conforming to the triad of state-nation-territory, which is (imperial) liberalism (for state), civilizationalism (for nation), and geopolitics (for territory). The three-fold combination of discourses analyzed across historical periods shows how the present has been heavily shaped by the colonial legacy of this discursive triad, and how postcolonial states, here India, have shaped, altered, and at times challenged, but have not fundamentally transcended, these discursive boundaries. This is shown in the situation of Indian-administered Kashmir, which can be seen as a neocolonial manifestation in India’s attempts to script people, territory, and the role of the state.





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