Atmospheric Violence: Disaster and Repair in Kashmir

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Atmospheric Violence grapples with the afterlife of environmental disasters and armed conflict and examines how people attempt to flourish despite and alongside continuing violence. Departing from conventional approaches to the study of disaster and conflict that have dominated academic studies of Kashmir, Omer Aijazi’s ethnography of life in the borderlands instead explores possibilities for imagining life otherwise, in an environment where violence is everywhere, or atmospheric.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork in the portion of Kashmir under Pakistan’s control and its surrounding mountainscapes, the book takes us to two remote mountainous valleys that have been shaped by recurring environmental disasters, as well as by the landscape of no-go zones, army barracks, and security checkpoints of the contested India/Pakistan border. Through a series of interconnected scenes from the lives of five protagonists, all of whom are precariously situated within their families or societies and rarely enjoy the expected protections of state or community, Aijazi reveals the movements, flows, and intimacies sustained by a landscape that enables alternative modes of life. Blurring the distinctions between story, theory, and activism, he explores what emerges when theory becomes a project of seeing and feeling from the non-normative standpoint of those who, like the book’s protagonists, do not subscribe to the rules by which most others have come to know the world.

Bringing the critical study of disaster into conversation with a radical humanist anthropology and the capaciousness of affect theory, held accountable to Black studies and Indigenous studies, Aijazi offers a decolonial approach to disaster studies centering not on trauma and rupture but rather on repair—the social labor through which communities living with disaster refuse the conditions of death imposed upon them and create viable lives for themselves, even amidst constant diminishment and world-annihilation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPhiladelphia, PA
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press
Number of pages320
ISBN (Electronic)9781512823622
ISBN (Print)9781512823615, 9781512823608
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Publication series

NameContemporary Ethnography
Publisher University of Pennsylvania Press


  • critical disaster studies
  • violence
  • repair
  • decolonization
  • Kashmir
  • Northern Pakistan
  • borderlands
  • affect
  • creative ethnography
  • sovereignty
  • Muslim lifeworlds
  • refusal
  • Line of Control
  • writing as care
  • heartwork
  • ethics
  • Himalayas
  • South Asia
  • aesthetics
  • conflict
  • disasters

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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