Please join us for a discussion of David Gilmartin's paper "Voting and Party Symbols in India" on Friday, September 9, from 4-6 pm at the National Humanities Center. Light refreshments will be served.
Voting and Party Symbols in India: The Visual and the Law in Constituting the Sovereign People
Abstract: The establishment and legal regulation of voting practices provides a critical window for analyzing the distinctive meanings attached to the people’s sovereignty as an operative force in electoral democracies. In India, this is evident in the controversies that have surrounded the use of officially-sanctioned party electoral symbols in election campaigns. Originally adopted after India’s independence to facilitate voting by a largely illiterate population, symbols have since come to play critical roles as party logos. But their practical use and “misuse” has sparked considerable controversy, raising questions both about the role of visual images in mobilizing Indian voters on the one hand, and in threatening the idealized self-discipline on which the theory of Indian democracy has been based, on the other.