Call for Participation: International Conference on Non-State Legal Practices in India

Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, 5-7 December 2015

The international and interdisciplinary conference focuses on non-state legal practices in India from the perspectives of legal anthropology and sociology of law, philosophy and political theory, jurisprudence and legal studies, literature and culture studies. By bringing together eminent scholars and representatives from NGOs and media, the conference seeks to bridge the gap between academia, civil society, and popular media on this important issue.

The conference raises questions about the status of traditional, customary, and contemporary informal legal practices in the context of the modern Indian state. From a modern perspective, informal legal practices have no legitimate status. They are either rendered invisible by the conventional stage theory of the genesis of modern society or, if they can’t be denied, they are regarded as remnants of another age to be done away with once modernity is taking full shape.

Societies with such apparent non-synchronies are therefore regarded as “developing societies”, as having not yet fully arrived in modernity and as threatening to “fall behind” the normalized standard of Western modernity. The conference critically looks at non-state legal practice, without however dismissing it out of hand as a thing to be overcome by an uncritically idealized modernity, but something to be engaged with on a par with the real-existing practice of the modern state.

We are looking forward to have interactive sessions with the following invited speakers listed below. We are also looking forward to the screening of documentary on Women Jamaats in Tamil Nadu. The director Deepa Dhanraj will be present and available for a discussion after the movie.

Key note address
Upendra Baxi (Professor Emeritus, University of Warwick, UK)


  • Pratiksha Baxi (JNU, New Delhi): Legal Pluralism,Sexual Violence &
    Public Secrecy in India
  • Meera Baindur (MCPH): Procedures of Petition and Justice in Golu Dev’s Territory
  • Maarten Bavinck (University of Amsterdam): Theorizing Non-State Legal Practices
  • Anuj Bhuwania (South Asian University, New Delhi): State Law Pluralism
  • Michael Dusche (MCPH): India’s Alternative Legal Modernity
  • Zoé Headley (French Institute, Pondicherry): The ‘Katta Panchayat’ in Tamil Nadu
  • Smita Tewari Jassal (Middle East Technical University, Ankara): The
    Justice of Healing
  • Lalitha Kamath&Smita Waingankar (TISS Mumbai): Municipalisation in Mizoram
  • Anindita Majumdar (MCPH): Assisted Conception in Myth and Reality
  • Neshat Quaisar (Jamia Millia, Delhi): Legal Practices among Muslims in India
  • Aakash S. Rathore (University of Mumbai): Is there an Indian Philosophy of Law
  • Manisha Sethy (Jamia Millia, Delhi): Trial and Terror: UAPA in Courts
  • Tamara Relis (London School of Economics): Human Rights and Development
  • Vidhu Verma (JNU, New Delhi): Habermas’ Conception of Pre-Modern Law

Who can apply as participants?
We invite students, research scholars, faculty members and others who are interested in non-state legal practices and legal pluralism.
How to apply?
Send a CV (with email, phone number and contact address) along with a statement of purpose (approx. 350 words). Applications should be submitted to, with subject line “Application International Conference on Non-State Legal Practices in India”.
The last date for submission is 30th September 2015. Selected participants will be informed via email by 5 th October 2015. Food and Accommodation Selected participants can be provided accommodation at Manipal University on request. Tea, Snacks and Lunch will be provided on the conference days.
Registration Fee
For faculties and others:1200
For research scholars and students:1000
Thahir Jamal KM (co-convenor), PhD scholar, Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, Manipal University Manipal – 576 104, India; Email: tkmjamal@gmail.c
Michael Dusche (convener) Faculty, Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, Manipal University Manipal – 576 104, India. Phone: +91-820-292-3584


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