IDENTITY AT THE MARGINS

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DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

FACULTY OF ARTS

THE MS UNIVERSITY OF BARODA

VADODARA-2

NATIONAL SEMINAR

IDENTITY AT THE MARGINS

Supported by the UGC SAP DRS-I

19-20 March 2010

The idea of identities in the margins has been in circulation for quite a while now, both in the popular domain and also in realm of mainstream academics. Movements catalyzed by a sense of a shared marginal identity have challenged dominant characterizations of the world across a range of disciplines and also in the fields of culture and politics. These rival definitions of what constitutes knowledge have unsettled the certainty of disciplines. Consequently, disciplines of the Social Sciences and the Humanities, perhaps more than most, have needed to rethink the status of the knowledge that they have legitimized with the value of ‘truth’. This would be a good time to rehearse the fact that a significant proportion of this challenge to the status of disciplinary knowledge came from experiences, narratives and strategies of understanding the world that were organized around identitarian collectives. Since then, as Dipesh Chakrabarty has demonstrated in ‘Minority Histories, Subaltern Pasts’, academic disciplines have tended to confer an easy legitimacy on ‘minority histories’ without caring to examine the logic with which disciplines gather their own rationality.

This seminar seeks to explore the way marginal identities have been shaped in the popular domain as well as in academic disciplines and in both together, in texts, in performance, in the realm of culture, politics and history. We look towards a wide ranging understanding of identity: caste, class, community and gender, certainly, but also region, sexual orientation as well as more ephemeral identities such as slum dweller, under trial, rowdy sheeter and so on. The seminar proposes to examine the way identities have been constituted, rethought and modulated, the way new identities have come into play. In other words, we see the seminar as an opportunity to think through the question of identity, the ways it circulates and most importantly, the limits and possibilities that it offers.

We invite papers and presentations that critically engage with the seminar theme. Kindly send in abstracts of papers to deeptha.achar@gmail.com and rajanbarrett@gmail.com by 20 February 2010; we will respond to you by 22 February.

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