Dans le monde, plus de 40 millions de personnes – majoritairement des jeunes femmes – travaillent dans des zones franches, où les entreprises jouissent d’avantages réglementaires, fiscaux et “sociaux”. Mais comme l’a constaté une étude de la Confédération Internationale des Syndicats Libres (CISL), ces privilèges permettent bien souvent aux employeurs de bafouer “systématiquement les droits des travailleurs, notamment la liberté d’association”(1). C’est le cas au Sri Lanka, où “zone franche signifie zone franche de syndicat”, regrette Anton Marcus, secrétaire général du FTZ & GSE Union(2). Confrontés à la répression, les ouvriers de ce pays en appellent à la responsabilité des importateurs : multinationales, mais aussi acheteurs publics. Car dans l’usine de GP Garments, où près de 500 ouvriers ont été brutalement licenciés pour avoir revendiqué leurs droits, ce sont des uniformes de l’armée française qui sont confectionnés.
Lorsqu’en janvier 2005, les salariés de l’usine de GP Garments, située dans la zone franche de Biyagama, sont informés qu’une réorganisation est prévue pour améliorer la productivité, le syndicat Progress Union ne s’y oppose pas. Il propose en revanche d’engager une discussion sur les implications de ces changements, notamment en termes de conditions de travail et de salaires. Pour toute réponse, la direction lance des actions d’intimidation à l’encontre des syndicalistes et affirme que le propriétaire de l’usine (un citoyen belge), est prêt à la fermer purement et simplement en cas de contestation.
Fin mars 2005, les actions anti-syndicales se multiplient. Le président du Progress Union est menacé de mort au téléphone. Le lendemain, la Force d’intervention spéciale de la Police pénètre dans l’usine et interroge un syndicaliste, officiellement en raison de ses liens supposés avec des délinquants. Il est photographié et menacé d’arrestation voire de prison à vie.
Le 24 mars, une grève a lieu pour protester contre cette campagne d’intimidation. Le lendemain, les cadres de GPGarments ferment l’usine et en interdisent l’accès aux ouvriers. Ceux-ci déposent une plainte au Ministère du travail et manifestent pour demander la réouverture de l’entreprise.
De promesses en promesses
Le 1er avril, lors d’une réunion en présence du Commissaire Général du Travail à Colombo, la capitale, la direction annonce que les arriérés de salaires pour le mois de mars ont été envoyés à leur domicile, au lieu d’être payés sur le lieu de travail comme d’habitude. La plupart des salariés venant de la campagne, certains parcourent de longues distances pour aller chercher leurs salaires, mais tous découvrent soit qu’ils n’ont rien reçu, soit qu’ils sont en possession d’un chèque ne pouvant être endossé !
Le 4 avril 2005, la direction rouvre enfin l’usine et remet au travail certains groupes de salariés, mais suspend 13 représentants syndicaux. Les ouvriers continuent leur mobilisation et demandent aux autorités d’intervenir. Le 6avril, au cours d’une nouvelle réunion dans le bureau du Commissaire Général du Travail, la direction déclare qu’elle va payer les primes et réembaucher tous les ouvriers. Nouvelle promesse en l’air : les syndicalistes qui se présentent ne sont pas admis et aucun versement n’est effectué…
Le 20 avril 2005, excédés, les salariés occupent l’usine. La riposte est immédiate : la direction ferme à nouveau le site de production et licencie près de 500 personnes. Depuis cette date, elle use de manoeuvres pour que les recours légaux déposés par le syndicat s’éternisent. Sur le terrain judiciaire, elle a même contre-attaqué en accusant plusieurs grévistes de “prise d’otage” (un délit très sévèrement puni au Sri Lanka) parce que des cadres de l’entreprise ont été retenus quelques heures durant l’occupation.
Pour honorer ses commandes, GPGarments a transféré sa production dans une autre usine du même groupe. Plus grave : en décembre 2005, elle a obtenu l’autorisation de remplacer provisoirement les ouvriers “récalcitrants” par une nouvelle main-d’oeuvre pour faire tourner l’usine.
Réponse insatisfaisante du Ministère
GP Garments fabrique principalement des uniformes pour l’armée française. Le Ministère de la Défense est donc en mesure d’obtenir un changement d’attitude de la direction. Interrogé par la FITTHC(3), la CFDT-Hacuitex(4), puis par la CFDT-FEAE(5), qui s’est très activement saisie du dossier, il a donné jusqu’à présent des réponses insatisfaisantes. Dans son dernier courrier, le plus détaillé, le Cabinet du Ministre fait valoir que la réglementation “ne donne pas compétence aux personnes responsables des marchés pour intervenir dans les conflits sociaux” mais que pour autant, les services du Ministère ont effectué depuis 2002 “sept missions de contrôle des conditions de travail dans l’entreprise GP Garments”, lesquelles n’ont révélé “aucune infraction aux dispositions légales et réglementaires” et ont permis de constater “le parfait état du site de production”.
Cependant, le Ministère fait ici l’impasse sur le non-respect de la liberté d’association et de négociation collective, pourtant l’un des principaux droits inscrits dans les conventions internationales de l’Organisation Internationale du Travail (OIT). Et dont les ouvriers sri lankais demandent légitimement à ce qu’il leur soit reconnu.
(1) « L’envers des marques » Conditions de travail et droits des travailleurs dans les zones franches d’exportation (http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991220895&Language=FR)
(2) Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees Union,
Syndicat des Zones Franches et des employés des services
(3) Fédération Internationale des Travailleurs du Textile de l’Habillement et du Cuir
(4) Fédération habillement, cuir et textile de la CFDT
(5) Fédération des établissement et arsenaux de l’État de la CFDT
Anton Marcus en France
The IOWC is looking for papers that address any aspect of medicine in the region of the Indian Ocean, including Northeast, East and South Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean islands, South, Southeast, and East Asia, in any historical period. The aim of the conference is to interrogate the concept of the Indian Ocean as a world using the exchange of medical goods, texts, instruments and ideas as a lens through which to examine how far the region may be regarded as a cultural entity. As well as being an article of trade, medicine is associated with religious, spiritual, and cultural ideas about the body and its relation to the environment. These ideas both govern the acceptance, modification, or rejection of medicines and medical ideas and are altered by them. Medical exchanges can thus be used to provide a cultural perspective on historical events and trends such as the spread of Islam and other faiths, the movement of migrant and diaspora communities, free and enslaved, and the rise and fall of empires in the region. The conference being multidisciplinary, papers from geography, sociology, anthropology and area studies as well as the history of medicine and science are welcome. [English and French]
Ed. note: Added material from website:
Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to:
– Circulation and translation of medical texts
– Transfer of medical techniques and healing practises
– Adoption and adaptations of medical theories and practises
– Spirit possession & modern medicine
– Humoral theory
– Theories of contagion
– Transplantation of medicinal plants
– Trade and marketing of plant or animal drugs
– Plantations/ mass production of medical substances
– Use of narcotics in medicine
– Marine materia medica
– Naval medicine
– Veterinary medicine
– Doctors & medical practitioners as agents of diplomacy or colonialism
– Trade or exchanges of medical instruments/ medicine containers
– Decoration and symbolism of medical instruments/ medicine containers
– Medical imagery/ illustrations
– Medical practises of migrant and diaspora communities
– The history of hospitals/ clinics/ dispensaries
– Medical missions
– Shrines as centres for healing
– International organisations focused on health care provision in the region
– Politics of healthcare
3460 McTavish Street, Room 100
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 0E6
Visit the website at http://indianoceanworldcentre.
We are pleased to announce the launch of the online journal Entangled Religions published by the Kate Hamburger Kolleg Dynamics in the History of Religions as part of the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) at Ruhr University Bochum. Entangled Religions is a peer-reviewed online periodical with gold open access and has been established to channel research on religious contact and transfer in past and present times into a single journal. Its purpose is to provide a platform for bringing together scholars of various academic specializations ranging from philologies to the social sciences, and also bridging historical and contemporary research.
Entangled Religions welcomes papers on all aspects given above! Please visit us at http://er.ceres.rub.de/
The first articles will be online in spring 2013. Submissions are welcome at any time.
understandings of contemporary children’s lives through historical
perspectives. The conference will be held at the Australian National
University in Canberra from 18th – 19th of July, 2013.
When we consider that children are marginalized by age in relation to
structures of power – as well as, caste, class and gender – they in fact
constitute multiple subaltern groups. The critical interrogation of the
concept of childhood and experiences of children is timely and
there is intense theoretical and development interest in children in South
Asia, children’s perspectives remain largely silent in political, social
and economic debate. Where children are the subject of adult speculation
in development discourses, impacts on the lives of real children are often
surprisingly underrepresented. This workshop will locate children in
important historical and social changes in contemporary India while
foregrounding children’s stories and agency. We aim for a convergence of
innovative ideas around childhood, recognizing that this category is
contested and raises important dilemmas for inter-disciplinary studies.
This workshop will bring together previously disparate threads of different
disciplinary approaches to children and childhood, allowing us within these
two days to identify and develop convergences, conflicts, and aspects that
may have been over-looked by one discipline, but explored in another. The
conference aims to highlight the methodological implications of research
into the perspectives and experiences of children.
Some of the dilemmas and themes to be explored include:
– children’s experiences, voices and stories
– universal versus multiple childhoods and the historical and cultural
specifities of conceptualizing childhood in South Asia
– how we conceive of children’s agency in relation to structures of
– a critical interrogation of child rights discourse, and the gap
between the rhetoric and reality of children’s participation
– diverse childhoods across class and caste, with a particular focus
upon marginalized children
– how to methodologically approach children’s perspectives and
experiences as adults and as scholars
– experiences and discourses of gendered girlhoods and boyhoods
– the significance of education in issues of social inequality,
constructions of Indian nationalism and modernity.
Topics that papers could consider include, but are not limited to:
– childhood and modernity, development and consumption amidst rapid
social and economic changes
– institutions of childhood, including schools, hostels, early infant
welfare centers, orphanages and youth organizations
– the anthropology of education, ideologies and styles of pedagogy, and
children’s experiences and agency within the classroom
– children and medicine (children’s understandings and experiences of
illness and healing; discourses surrounding children and health)
– children’s cultures (including play and friendship)
– South Asian children’s literature and children’s representation in
– gender and sexuality
– children in families (including changing domesticities, family
relationships and structures of power, and sibling-caretaking)
– children and violence (domestic, communal and state)
– children and work.
We invite proposals from various scholarly disciplines (including
anthropology, history, sociology, law and justice studies, development
studies, cultural and visual studies, etc), as well as representatives of
organizations working specifically with issues surrounding youth and
School of Culture, History and Language
College of Asia and the Pacific
Australian National University, Canberra
Earlier this month clashes at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Sri Lanka between protesting workers and police claimed life of an young worker and injured over 200 workers and policemen. The FTZ workers were protesting against the Sri Lanka government’s proposed Private Pension Scheme.
Katunayake FTZ manufactures around 30% of export products, most are involved in the garment industry, one of Sri Lanka’s top three foreign exchange sources. After the clashes the FTZ remained closed for 2 days resulting in huge loss.
Protest against the Police attack against the unarmed workers at FTZ in front of Railway Station in Colombo (01 June 2011) – Organized by Trade Union Alliance. Image from Flickr by Vikalpasl. CC BY – NC
Rasika Jayakody notes at Groundviews:
“Apart from this tragic death, this brutal police attack against Free Trade Zone workers left more than 200 people injured. On Monday evening, Ragama and Negombo hospitals were flooded with injured protesters. It is, undoubtedly, one of the brutal crackdowns in recent history. There are several video footages which clearly show the barbaric and inhuman manner that some police officers carried out attacks against unarmed protesters.”
On the next day hundreds of Buddhist monks came out for the first time to protest against the killing outside the President’s house.
Blogger Serendipity questions:
Who ordered live bullets? who ordered iron bars? why were trained riot police not used? and why was water cannon not brought in?
It is also surprising that no Employer of the FTZ has come out to protest, which I can only presume to be the govt. has bought their silence by implying that ‘if you go against us we will find a means to make it difficult for you’, fear psychosis!
So what does this protest mean for Sri Lanka? Rasika Jayakody explains:
This particular protest, done by Free Trade Zone workers in Katunayake, has given an unexpected shock therapy to the ‘big shots’ of the government who are intoxicated with power and high-handedness. It has sent them a clear-cut message about people’s agitation towards their snobbish political behavior.
The recent crescendo of public opinion, as well as less conspicuous rumblings of the past, has called into question the trajectories of political and economic development in modern South Asia. In academic debate, these critiques are not restricted to the postcolonial state and its government but trace longer genealogies of power structures and knowledge formations. This workshop aims to bring different disciplines in conversation on the theme of modernity and the voices of difference and discontent that resist it, or are silenced by it.
We invite papers from early career scholars (graduate students and junior faculty) in all disciplines that engage with South Asia. Papers could address, but are not limited to the following sub themes:
GENEALOGIES OF MODERNITY: How do we untangle the long genesis of forces, relationships, and tropes which inform the conflicts associated with modernity? This sub-theme may include issues such as transitions to early modernity in the subcontinent, the “invention” of tradition, and the production of identities and practices connected to debates over modernity.
THE STATE AND ITS INSURGENTS: Unification and separation present a deep tension in modern state building projects in South Asia. Despite attempts to standardize and unify independent post-colonial nation states on the subcontinent, there were other voices and projects that called for separation, differentiation and recognition.
STAGES OF CAPITAL: Does Capital trace a different path in non-western cultures and does this path subsume in its travels all other economies? Is there an indigenous economy that can contest the flow of Capital in different cultures? We invite papers that locate difference in economic practices, discuss terminologies like crony capitalism and trace parallel economies in the history of Capitalism.
TEXTS OF POWER: How does privileging archives constituted by law, science or statistics inform our understanding of modernity? What are the languages and expressions of resistance and difference? Are they to be found in popular literature, Dalit fictions, populist movements, or more hidden transcripts that the scholar must learn to read?
MULTIPLE MODERNITIES: Can we trace the alternate routes of the modern as it travels cultures? How does the modern find its place in regional literature, art, architecture, urban spaces, music, and films? Does a shift in focus to the region meaningfully inflect our idea of the modern?
GENDERED MODERNITY: Recent feminist studies have explored new theories of modernity, foregrounding the social construction of gender and challenging our understandings of modern masculine/feminine binaries. How do such theories reconfigure perceptions of modern gendered social relations?
Paper proposals should include a title, a 300-word abstract, institutional affiliation and contact information. Please submit proposals to email@example.com by December 1, 2012. The University will provide for accommodation for two nights and will contribute towards travel expenses.
Organizers: Isabelle Clark-Deces, Radha Kumar and Nabaparna Ghosh, Princeton University.
Department of History
The College of Social Communication Innovation, Srinakharinwirot University is holding an international conference on arts and culture and Asian indigenous knowledge titled The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures 2012 between June 13- 14, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The conferences objective is to bring together the academics and experts from different parts of the world to share knowledge, research and academic works in various aspects, and consequently create an academic network of those who contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of Asian arts and culture.
Call for Papers Deadline: 2013-03-31
College of Social Communication Innovation
114 Sukhumvit 23 Road, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand
Visit the website at http://www.acacconference.com
The Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin
announces its 2013-14 theme, Trauma and Social Transformation.
Catastrophes– whether war, genocide, mass rape, enforced disappearances,
or environmental disasters –inevitably leave their mark on the social
fabric. Civic trauma is an unavoidable, and yet little-explored, element
and consequence of such tragedies.
For the Institute’s 2013-14 theme, we seek proposals that analyze trauma
as a transformative historical experience for individuals, families,
communities, and nations. Projects may include but are not limited to the
suppression of trauma and processes of individual healing and collective
transformation; the cumulative toll and intergenerational nature of
trauma; trauma as a catalyst for geographic displacement, social reform,
and political mobilization; varied cultural and historical understandings
and representations of trauma; the fetishization and commercialization of
trauma; and the methodological challenges of integrating trauma into
Drawing from the fields of human rights, psychoanalysis, memory studies,
sociology, anthropology, the cognitive and neurosciences, and semiotics,
applicants are encouraged to employ interdisciplinary approaches to the
historical study of trauma. From the testimonial to the theoretical, the
medieval to the modern, and from the secular to the religious, we invite
papers from across periods, sites, and historiographical traditions that
foreground trauma as a frame for historical analysis.
The IHS invites applications for resident fellows at all ranks. Deadline:
January 15, 2013. For more information about the institute’s fellowship
and application process, please visit:
For further information on IHS, including events programming and
applications for residential fellowships for 2013-14, please visit the IHS
Institute for Historical Studies
The University of Texas at Austin
South Asian Studies Association conferences strive
to advance our understanding of South Asia’s peoples, cultures,
histories, issues and opportunities in a professional environment
notable for its relaxed atmosphere and warm collegiality. Participants
come from all parts of the US, Europe, and South Asia. Your attendance
sends a strong signal that South Asian Studies programs need to figure
prominently in university life across the globe. Your presentations
further the discipline and increase cross-cultural understanding.
We welcome papers from all academic disciplines and all periods of time
that address the rich tapestry that is South Asia’s past, present and
We also encourage university students interested in any facet of South
Asian life or scholarship to join us at this conference.
ABOUT OUR HOST:Founded in 1844, the University at Albany
<http://www.albany.edu/> is the intellectual center of one of the oldest
cities in North America and the Capital of New York State. Travel to it
is through its International Airport and frequent Amtrak service from
Penn Station in New York City. The Conference will be held at the heart
of the main campus, known as the Uptown Campus.
ABOUT YOUR PARTICIPATION*:*SASA accepts paper and panel submissions
online at www.sasia.org.
MORE INFORMATION:Conference accommodations, access, travel links,
program details, and more are at www.sasia.org..
QUESTIONS?Contact the Program Chair, Dr. Kumaran Muthlusami, at
International Journal of Asian Studies (IJAS) is an interdisciplinary,
English-language forum for research in primarily the humanities with
historical perspectives. Examining Asia on a regional basis, IJAS
focuses attention on the work of Asian scholars as well as western
scholars, in order to encourage multi-directional communication across
the international Asian studies community.
More information about the journal can be found here:
Cambridge University Press
32 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013-2473 USA
The Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (established in 2010) has two ongoing projects funded by the Mellon Foundation and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India. We are interested in promoting interdisciplinary and comparative transnational work looking at the connected histories of colonialism, capital, labour, religion and literature across the Indian Ocean as well as post-colonial ideologies and formations in the Global South. The project funded by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is concerned with the migration of labour and capital from India to Africa and emerging notions of global responsibility. In particular we are interested in themes of labour migration; labour regimes and legal cultures; the changing profile of Indian communities in Africa; emerging themes of environment, food security and the resource race in Africa; and entrepreneurial activity by Indian migrants.
On the Mellon funded Indian Ocean/Global South project we are inviting applications for
two MA Fellowships which will be tenable for one year starting January 2013 and will be of the value of R 100000.Candidates should have an Honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate discipline. The programme entails an MA by dissertation plus one compulsory module on the Indian Ocean. Applicants for the MA should send their CVs and a
covering letter stating why they wish to do an MA by dissertation on the Indian Ocean area.
On the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs project we are calling for applications for
one PhD fellowship tenable
for three years commencing January 2013 leading towards a PhD from the University of Witwatersrand and will be of the value of R 150000 p.a. Candidates should have a Masters degree in an appropriate discipline and preferably some experience of research or a research
one Masters fellowship for an MA by dissertation commencing January 2013 tenable for one year and will be of the value R 100000. Candidates should have a first class Honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate Social Science discipline.
Applicants for these fellowships should send CVs; a covering letter stating how their research interests could contribute to the project; and three references.
Complete applications should be emailed to Merle.Govind@wits.ac.za
on or before the 31st October 2012 or posted to the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa c/o African Literature Department University of Witwatersrand Private Bag 3 Wits 2050 Johannesburg South Africa. For further information contact Prof Dilip Menon (Dilip.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mellon Chair in Indian Studies
Director, Centre for Indian Studies in Africa
School of Literature and Language Studies Room 3162 Senate House
University of the Witwatersrand Pvt Bag 3 PO Wits 2050
Johannesburg South Africa
tel: (011) 717 4020 cell: (27)763983407
The Sri Lanka graduate student workshop that will be held at Stanford University on 8–9 November 2012. This event is co-funded by the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies and the Center for South Asia, Stanford University. The workshop is organized by Sharika Thiranagama and is designed for students at all stages of graduate study. Students who attended the earlier workshops in this series found the workshop both intellectually stimulating and enjoyable.
For more information, please go to https://sites.google.com/site/
CALL FOR ESSAYS for a volume on Asian Religions for a series titled Women
and Religion in the World. This set explores the experiences of women and
how their daily lives interface with a dynamic aspect of life and culture,
that of religion. The design of this multi-volume, interdisciplinary work
depicts a representation of contemporary selected experiences of women in
six categories: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Asian Religions, Indigenous Religions, and New Religions.
The themes of (1) Woman, Family, Environment; (2) Socio-economics, Politics,
Authority; (3) Body, Mind, & Spirit; (4) Sexuality, Power, & Vulnerability;
and (5) Women, World-View, & Religious Practice, serve as guiding parameters
for contextual analysis to better relate the daily lives of women as shaped
by their faith practice. We are looking for essays between 6,000 and 9,000 words (24-30 pages).
If you are interested in contributing to this project, would you kindly send me a 100 word abstract by the end of October? The essays themselves would be due December 31st, or soon thereafter. The deadlines are not hard and fast, and I’d be willing to work with you for a deadline that is more doable from your perspective.