The space of the courtroom and the role of geographical evidence in the Punjab Boundary Commission hearings, July 1947

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Abstract

This paper examines the geographies of Partition through an analysis of the Punjab Boundary Commission hearings of July 1947. The paper asks: what happens when geographical expertise is transported from ‘the field’ to courtrooms and government offices? I argue that geography was transformed, and was managed and limited by the legal framework that judged evidence according to its own rules. Examining select records of the Punjab Boundary Commission, I argue that the courtroom created certain assumptions about the nature and role of evidence in boundary-making negotiations. Rather than applying evidence to create a workable boundary, evidence was put to work in often contradictory ways in order to lend competing political claims an air of geographical authority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-207
JournalSouth Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies
Volume42
Issue number1
Early online date4 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019

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