Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 CALL FOR PAPERS: Engendering and Degendering South Asian Studies

In response to the positive feedback to the workshop held at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (Berlin) in July last year, the Young South Asia Scholars Meet (Y-SASM) has been established as an annual workshop. The Y-SASM is to be held on a rotational basis at host universities, which this year will be the South Asian Studies Seminar of the Humboldt University, Berlin. The workshop will be held from the 19th -21st of May, 2011.

Last year, the workshop had the declared aim of providing young South Asianists with a platform for exchange and interaction that could further the integration and proliferation of research networks across the German-speaking region and beyond. The workshop reflected the vibrancy of South Asian Studies in the region and we hope that its institutionalization in the form of Y-SASM will contribute to and facilitate this trend.

In contrast to last year’s workshop, Y-SASM 2011 will have a thematic focus in order to encourage fruitful discussion. The topic of the Y-SASM 2011 is gender.

For quite some time now South Asian gender studies has been successfully highlighting the role of women in South Asian History. With recent developments in the field, however, we hold that gender studies can no longer be equated to women studies. Instead gender has increasingly evolved as a critical perspective with an inherently interdisciplinary character which can thus throw light on a far wider range of settings, constellations and problems in the South Asian region.

Historically, gender as an academic perspective has its roots in feminist theory and women studies, which emerged as an exclusively interventionist paradigm in the late 1960s and early 1970s and manifested itself in diverse feminist movements across the world, including South Asia. Since then, gender studies has come into its own as an academic field that questions existing forms of knowledge production. Significantly, it has come a long way in finding a balance between its role as a critical and theoretical perspective and its normative interventionist ideals. Indeed, the need for deconstructing binary categories such as 'women' and 'men' and the importance of questioning derivative binaries of sexuality is now highlighted. For example, since the 1990s, queer theory has been at the forefront in contesting the categorization of gender and sexuality essentialist lines. In the same way, there is need to continue emphasizing the gender perspective in South Asian Studies while simultaneously questioning its binary premises; thereby both engendering and degendering South Asian studies.

Thus, this workshop is interested in papers from various disciplinary backgrounds that can highlight how the gender perspective is enriching South Asian studies. We are looking for contributions pertaining to:

  1. Sexualities and Gender
  2. Gender and Technology
  3. Historiography of Gender in South Asian Studies
  4. Gender and Violence
  5. Gender and Work
  6. Gender: Development, Education and Health
  7. Gender, Caste and Tribe
  8. Gender: Communalism, Religion and Law
  9. Gender in Literature and Media
  10. Gender: the National and the Transnational

Y-SASM wishes to combine its aim of facilitating lively thematically focused debate with its goal of promoting exchange between new and young scholars. Thus, in addition to the thematic panels, one section of the workshop will be devoted to providing space to scholars to presenting their new projects. These presentations may be held on topics that fall outside the theme of the workshop.
Please send your abstracts (400-500 words) to the organizers no later than 15th February 2011. Other than those who will be directly participating in the workshop (through presentation), we invite all interested scholars working on South Asia to take part in the workshop. We hope, in this way, to begin the work of building up a new network of younger scholars working on South Asia. Currently, our funding situation is unclear and we therefore we strongly request our participants and guests to arrange for their own travel and accommodation. 
Sadia Bajwa (Humboldt University, Berlin), Maria Framke (Jacobs University Bremen), Mette Gabler (Humboldt University, Berlin), Maria Moritz (Jacobs University, Bremen), Nitin Sinha (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin)

Sadia Bajwa:

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