"South Asia's Orients," 41st Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA). April 7-11, 2010, Montreal.
Deadline for submitting abstracts or proposals: September 30, 2009
Panel description: Many scholars have examined travel accounts and transcultural encounters between Westerners and non-Westerners (Edward Said, Stephen Greenblatt, Peter Hulme, Mary Louise Pratt, and Roxanne Euben); however, researchers have been reluctant to examine similar encounters that took place among non-Western cultures. Although some scholars have proposed moving away from Western hegemony in order to examine “places that seem most peripheral to the march of European history” (Dipesh Chakrabarty in Provincializing Europe, 35), researchers continue to privilege Western-subaltern encounters. Therefore, this panel will examine South Asian cultural encounters with the various parts of the East, a vast geographic area that includes the Middle East, South East Asia, and the Far East. The list of possible topics may include:
- South Asian travel accounts, memoirs, histories, and fictional narratives about the Orient (e.g. Vikram Seth’s travels through Sinkiang and Tibet, Pico Iyer’s reflections on Kyoto, Amitav Ghosh’s experiences in Egypt, and the depiction of the East in Salman Rushdie’s works and in Meena Alexander’s short stories).
- The experiences of South Asians in the Gulf region: What are the experiences of South Asians in that region? How do they depict their lives there, and how do they negotiate their identity and the location of “home”?
- South Asians in the South East Asia and the Far East: How do South Asians depict their encounter with “other” Orientals? Do Western histories and narratives interfere with their interaction with the East? Do South Asians affiliate themselves with Eastern cultures, or do they uphold their own culture as superior?
- South Asian Diasporas in the East: What are the experiences of South Asians who have relocated to the East? How do they negotiate the concept of “home” and “homeland”? How do they interact with Eastern locals? How do Eastern cultures shape their ethnic, cultural, and political identity? How do South Asians, living in South Asia, regard those who have settled in the East? Are they treated in the same manner as South Asians living in the West?
- Role of race, caste, and ethnicity: To what extent does race, caste, or ethnicity play a role in depicting encounters with the East?
Please send 250-300 word proposals by July 30, 2009 to Suha Kudsieh at Trent University: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include with the abstract the following info:
Name and Affiliation
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee)
The panel welcomes papers that examine works published in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, and similar South Asian languages, in addition to works written in Anglophone; however, it is important to note that all papers must be delivered in English at the conference.
The 41st Annual Convention will feature approximately 350 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2010 Convention will be posted in June: www.nemla.org .
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