XIII th CLAI BIENNIAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2013
THE JOURNEY OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE : INDIA AND BEYOND
DEPARTMENT OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
KOLKATA 700032, INDIA
JANUARY 16-18, 2013
The Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI) invites abstracts for the XIIIth CLAI Biennial International Conference on THE JOURNEY OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE: INDIA AND BEYOND. The Conference is to be held at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, in collaboration with the Department of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University.The Conference will be held from 16 to 18 January, 2013.
The discipline of Comparative Literature in India is more than sixty-five years old in its institutional form and started with the establishment of India’s first Comparative Literature department at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Over the decades, it has evolved into a vibrant, exciting and relevant discipline. It manifests resonances with the development of the discipline in other parts of the world while at the same time mapping its own distinct trajectory. The Conference seeks to take stock of pedagogical developments in Comparative Literature the world over and to map the Indian context in terms of the same. It also hopes to explore the changing contours of its relationship with other disciplines and share perspectives on the potential of Comparative Literature as an academic discipline.
In particular, we would like to focus on the state of Comparative Literature today. Among other things, we would like to explore how the discipline has responded to pressures of a globalised educational matrix,the competition among disciplines for resources and recognition and the pedagogical imperatives of the same.By doing so, we hope to arrive at a nuanced understanding of where our discipline is heading and also how far we are equipped to make necessary interventions in this journey.
We welcome well-researched and substantiated, analytical presentations on all aspects related to the development of Comparative Literature as well as to the scope of the discipline. Papers related to the history and methodology of Comparative Literature and concomitant debates are particularly encouraged. Papers involving the study of one or more authors without reference to the methods and/or history of Comparative Literature would not fit into the theme of this Conference.
Comparative Literature and Other Disciplines
Comparative Literature in/and Translation
Comparative Literature in the Indian academia
Comparative Literature or Cultural Studies !!
Comparative Literature and Area Studies
The Future of Comparative Literature in ‘Bharatvarsha’ and beyond
Performance/Practising Comparative Literature
Comparative Literature : Theory & Praxis
Comparative Literature : Interrogating the Margins
What is so ‘comparative’ about Comparative Literature ?
Comparative Literature/World Literature Reconsidered
Cultural and Literary Interrelations between India and Neighbouring Countries (workshop topic – ICLA)
Please note that this Conference is for CLAI members only and individuals intending to present papers at the Conference must become members of CLAI (if they are not so already) before their participation can be confirmed. Details of membership are available on http://www.clai.in.
Please send abstracts (maximum 500 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 31, 2012, along with the pre-registration form. All abstracts will be acknowledged within two working days. Participants will be e-mailed intimation regarding acceptance by September 15, 2012. Those who are asked to revise their abstracts must send in reworked abstracts by September 30, 2012. Registration forms will be e-mailed to participants latest by September 30, 2012. Completed forms, registration amount and, where applicable, CLAI membership fees and forms must reach us by November 15, 2012. The funds may be paid by bank transfer or demand draft only. All queries for clarifications are to be e-mailed to email@example.com.
For further details, the following may be contacted:
Professor Kunal Chattopadhyay
Ph: (+91) 9831398301
Professor Suchorita Chattopadhyay
Ph: (+91) 9831205770
Professor Chandra Mohan
General Secretary, CLAI
Ph: (+91) 9810683143
Dr Sayantan Dasgupta
Ph: (+91) 9831191181
Please follow our website for further updates : http://www.clai.in/
Faculty Members (Outstation): Rs. 2000/-
Faculty Members (Local): Rs. 1200/-
Research Scholars and Independent Scholars (Outstation): Rs. 1200/-
Research Scholars and Independent Scholars (Local): Rs. 600/-
Students (Outstation): Rs. 750/-
Students (Local): Rs. 500/-
International Delegates : US $ 200
Osmania University Centre for International Programmes
Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad
Negotiating Margins: African American & Dalit Writings
17 – 19 December 2012
Call for Papers
The Osmania University Centre for International Programmes (OUCIP), Hyderabad, India is organizing an International Conference from 17 – 19, December 2012 on “Negotiating Margins: African American and Dalit Writings”. Participants desirous of attending the conference should submit a soft copy of the abstract of the proposed presentation in about 300 words along with a brief bio-note by 5th July, 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject heading “Negotiating Margins”. The broad areas covered by the conference include:
Democracy and Subaltern Consciousness in African American and Dalit Writings.
Issues and Perspectives of Subaltern Consciousness.
Literature of Marginality: Dalit and African American Writings.
Woman, Caste and Race.
Constructions of Self.
The Subaltern Consciousness and the Crisis of leadership.
America and India the Subaltern Renaissance.
Politics of Empowerment and Subaltern issues.
Ambedkar and W.E.B. DuBois: Comparative analysis.
Why India Works – written by film director Shekhar Kapoor.
A greater ‘hole in the wall’ you cannot imagine. A small fading sign on the top saying “Cellphoon reapars” barely visible through the street vendors crowding the Juhu Market in Mumbai. On my way to buy a new Blackberry, my innate sense of adventure made me stop my car and investigate. A shop not more than 6 feet by 6 feet. Grimy and uncleaned.
‘Can you fix a Blackberry ?”
‘Of course, show me”
”How old are you” ‘Sixteen’
Bullshit. He was no more than 10. Not handing my precious blackberry to a 10 year old in unwashed and torn T shirt and pyjamas! At least if I buy a new one, they would extract the data for me. Something I have been meaning to do for a year now.
‘What’s wrong with it?”
‘Well, the roller track ball does not respond. It’s kind of stuck and I cannot operate it”
He grabs it from my hand and looks at it
“You should wash your hands. Many customers have same problem. Roller ball get greasy and dirty, then no working’
Look who was telling me to wash my hands. He probably has not bathed for 10 days, I leaned out to snatch my useless blackberry back..
” You come back in one hour and I fix it’.
I am not leaving all my precious data in this unwashed kid’s hands for an hour. No way.
“Who will fix it?”
‘How big is ‘big brother?’
‘big …. Umm ..thirty’
Then suddenly big brother walks in. 30 ??? He is no more than 19.
‘What problem?’ He says grabbing the phone from my greasy hand into his greasier hand. Obviously not trained in etiquette by an upmarket retail store manager.
‘Normal blackberry problem. I replace with original part now. You must wash your hand before you use this’. What is this about me washing my hands suddenly??
19 year old big brother rummages through a dubious drawer full of junk and fishes out a spare roller ball packed in cheap cellophane wrapper. Original part? I doubt it. But by now I am in the lap of the real India and there is no escape as he fishes out a couple of screwdrivers and sets about opening my Blackberry.
“How long will this take?”
This I have to see. After spending the whole morning trying to find a Blackberry service centre and getting vague answers about sending the phone in for an assessment that might take a week, I settle down next to his grubby cramped work space. At least I am going to be able to watch all my stored data vanish into virtual space. People crowd around to see what’s happening. I am not breathing easy anyway. I tell myself this is an adventure and literally have to stop myself grabbing my precious Blackberry back and making a quick escape. But in exactly six minutes this kid handed my Blackberry back. He had changed the part and cleaned and serviced the whole phone. Taken it apart, and put it together. As I turned the phone on there was a horrific 2 minutes where the phone would not come on. I looked at him with such hostility that he stepped back.
‘you have more than thousand phone numbers ?”
‘Must back up. I do it for you. Never open phone before backing up’
‘You tell me that now?’
But then the phone came on and my data was still there. Everyone watching laughed and clapped. This was becoming a show. A six minute show. I asked him how much.
‘500 rupees’ He ventured uncertainly. People around watched in glee expecting a negotiation.
That’s $10 dollars as against the Rs 30,000 ($ 600) I was about to spend on a new Blackberry or a couple of weeks without my phone. I looked suitably shocked at his ‘high price’ but calmly paid him. Much to the disappointment of the expectant crowd
‘do you have an I-Phone ? Even the new ‘4D one ?
‘I break the code for you and load any ‘app’ or film you want. I give you 10 film on your memory stick on this one, and change every week for small fee’
I went home having discovered the true entrepreneurship that lies at what we call the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. Some may call it piracy, which of course it is, but what can you say about two uneducated and untrained brothers aged 10 and 19 that set up a ‘hole in the wall’ shop and can fix any technology that the greatest technologists in the world can throw at them. I smiled at the future of our country. If only we could learn to harness this potential.
‘Please wash your hands before use’ were his last words to me. Now I am feeling seriously unclean.
Vikram Seth, speech at the Kolkata Book Fair on Kolkata, Kobi, Constitution and Kolom:
I will now go to the fourth ‘ko’ or Kolom. I have touched upon the word in law and literature. But especially when one thinks of Tagore, one also thinks of the word as a graphic form, a form of art. I am very happy that Sunil Gangopadhyay and I—as part of this inauguration—were asked to write the word ‘kolom’ in black paint on those white boards there. As you can see, Sunil Da has written it in Bengali and I have written it in English and Urdu. It is interesting that three of the world’s great civilisations, the Hindu, the Islamic and the Judaeo-Christian, are thus incorporated on those boards, just as they are part of our common discourse. This is the richness of our country; we cannot allow it to be filtered and thinned. This is the strength of our country; we cannot allow it to be contorted or distorted.
Let me end with the two opening lines of a poem by Tagore that I have known—in his own English translation—since I was eleven years old. It was one of our school prayers and it expresses his aspirations for India.
‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free.’
Let me repeat that: ‘Where knowledge is free.’
Those who try to cloud our minds with fear are the enemies of both knowledge and freedom.
We cannot let our republic, our beloved republic, our constitutional republic, our free and free-speaking republic, be hijacked by fear. It happened once in the Emergency. It must never happen again.
We cannot let them close our mouths and eyes and ears.
We cannot let them break the pen or ration the ink.
Kolome kali jeno na shokaye.
May the kolom flourish.
Call for Contributions on Caste, Gender and Sexuality in Asia
For centuries now, caste system has been one of the most influential and deciding factors as a pattern of social stratification and segregation in most of the Asian countries. The system is so deeply rooted that each and every aspect of human life in these societies is affected and shaped by it. Each caste in the hierarchy comes up with its own social and cultural norms for the members of its community. Women are the most vulnerable and the worst affected members of the caste based societies. While women in general suffer internal oppression and gender bias, women of the casteist societies bear the multiple burdens of their caste, class, religion, region and work apart from gender discrimination. Moreover caste not only prescribes the roles but also assigns duties and responsibilities and prescribes food, dress and other codes of conduct for people, especially women. In a similar manner is constructed the male gender with different set of roles and responsibilities. The sexuality of genders is also defined and decided according to the caste hierarchy. In some contexts, certain genders and gender roles are forcibly thrust on people to perform certain roles depending on their caste and vulnerability to exploitation. In recent times, these societies are transforming gradually owing to political, cultural, economic and social developments. In this context, caste and gender have become some of the most important concepts of the social and cultural discourse. While on one hand there are efforts on for casteless societies, on the other hand assertion of caste identities is also becoming a crucial strategy of resistance against caste and gender hegemony. We look forward to discuss the following issues in INTERSECTIONS:
- How does caste system contribute to the construction of gender roles and sexuality?
- How do the narratives of gender oppression debate framework of caste and vice-versa?
- How do the rewritings, retellings and translations of classical/canonical texts write alternative histories from gender and caste perspectives?
- How does oral tradition construct or deconstruct caste, gender and sexuality?
- How are the creative representations of sexuality influenced by notions of caste and gender?
- How do the various movements and voices centered on caste and gender intersect or conflict in changing societies?
- How are politics and governing influenced by caste and gender?
- How have the developments like globalization, liberalization and English education influenced the categories of caste and gender?
- What is the role of religions in shaping the gender and conversion in caste-ridden societies where both caste and religion define gender and sexuality?
- How does the postcolonial debate function in terms of caste and gender?
These and any other questions related to caste, gender and sexuality are welcome to be discussed.
The online nature of the journal allows for added flexibility in including images, video clips, and other supplemental materials.
Deadline for submissions: 1 March 2012
Go here for submission details.