a session on Sri Lanka at the Modern Language Association meetings in Boston, 3-6 January 2013

Below you will find a description of a panel on Sri Lankan literature at the Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association which will be held in Boston on January 3-6, 2013.


Translation in Sri Lankan Conflict Literature: Challenges, Opportunities, and Implications,        4 January12:00 noon–1:15 p.m.


Program arranged by the South Asian Literary Association

Presiding: Maryse Jayasuriya, Univ. of Texas, El Paso

1. “Ethnicity, Literature, and Translation in Sri Lanka,” Chelva Kanaganayakam, Univ. of Toronto

2. “From Kaduwa to Kadulla: Leaping the English Hurdle,” Aparna Halpe, Centennial Coll., Toronto

3. “Witnessing, Human Rights, and Performance in Postconflict Sri Lanka,” Nimanthi Rajasingham, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick


Translation in Sri Lankan Conflict Literature: Challenges, Opportunities, and Implications

Given the fact that one of the significant contributing factors to Sri Lanka’s prolonged ethnic conflict was the willed erasure of common tongues, efforts at a language of reconciliation might turn to translation as a bridge between now disparate communities. While translations of Sinhala literature into English were common in the latter part of the twentieth century, translations of Tamil literature into either Sinhala or English were relatively rare, further propagating the silence surrounding Tamil literary and cultural production among the Lankan elite and the non-Tamil speaking populace. Efforts at redressing this issue include the mandate by Three-Wheeler Press, funded by The Gratiaen Trust, a foundation started by Michael Ondaatje, to focus primarily on translation among all three languages. However, despite the rise in literary awards for translation sponsored by private funding organizations and the government, the body of translations remains scant. We ask, what role can translation hold in developing a post-conflict culture of reconciliation? Is the drive to promote translation premature, given the dearth of able trilingual translators? Can we speak of a politics of cultural translation? What gets lost in translation? What connections can be made between Sri Lanka’s situation in connection to the need for translation and those of other countries/regions in South Asia? How can the need for translation be theorized in relation to concrete situations of ethnic and communal conflict? What possibilities do the digital expansion of modes of communication offer for the production and dissemination of translations among Sinhala, Tamil, and English?


Ethnicity, Literature and Translation in Sri Lanka

Chelva Kanaganayakam

In Sri Lanka, where the political context of ethnicity is defined largely in terms of language, translation from Sinhala and Tamil into English is both problematic and crucial. It is problematic because ethnic conflict in postcolonial Sri Lanka, for almost five decades, has made language a point of contention, and reaching across languages has not been encouraged. At the same time, in the post-conflict phase beginning in 2009, one of the main ways for achieving a sustainable reconciliation is through translations. When translations from either Sinhala or Tamil into English are minimal, the task of representation falls on English writing. While writing in English is often compelling from an aesthetic perspective, it has also moved in the direction of a liberal and non-controversial stance. Thus in order to comprehend the complexity and depth of conflict and its attendant trauma, one needs to turn to literatures written in Tamil and Sinhala. Although one would hope that at some point in the future, Sinhala texts would be translated directly into Tamil and vice versa, at present a valuable compromise would be to facilitate the translation of these literatures into English in order to secure a broad readership.

From Kaduwa to Kadulla: Leaping the English Hurdle

Aparna Halpe

In the post-independence backlash against colonial linguistic structures, English language facility was associated with social and cultural elitism and bourgeois liberalism. In the late ’70s, English was eventually dubbed “kaduwa” (the Sinhala name for the conqueror’s sword) by the radicalized university youth. The case against English was further cemented by the scholarly work of the time that questioned the Anglophone writer’s ability to voice the realities of the nation. One unfortunate consequence of these draconian language policies in literatures of the conflict era, was the absence of a functioning link language that could bridge the gap between the increasingly alienated Sinhala and Tamil communities. As a result, much of the significant literary production in all three languages existed in self-contained bubbles, rendering cross-cultural and cross-ethnic dialogue next to impossible. In 2003, recognizing the need for translation, the Graetian Trust, founded by Michael Ondaatje, brought the Three-Wheeler Press into being. The mandate of the press was to provide literary and scholarly work in translation in all three official languages. However, to date, the production of the press remains resolutely in English. This paper scrutinizes the function of English as a link language in post-conflict literature in translation while reopening the early debates of scholars such as Thiru Kandiah and Gunadasa Amarasekera that drew attention to English as a language of privilege. Does the function of English as a link language remain ideologically colonial? Has the Kaduwa (sword) become the final Kadulla (hurdle) in a literature of reconciliation between the Tamils and Sinhalese?


Witnessing, Human Rights and Performance in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka

Nimanthi Perera-Rajasingham

This paper will look at questions of witnessing, human rights and reconciliation through two texts. One is the documentary film released in 2011 by British Channel 4, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, and the second is a series of performances of Trojan Women in Sinhala directed by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake. Often when considering questions of reconciliation in post-conflict situations, narrating past experiences of violence and trauma are crucial mechanisms by which those who have been silenced are given opportunities to speak. Hence, I will consider how witnessing is constructed in both the documentary film and play to understand if they create the conditions of possibility for cross-ethnic conversations. I will also look at these two texts as inter-cultural texts that mediate different linguistic communities.

I will use the film as a symptomatic example of how human rights organizations rely on objective, independent, and unbiased witnesses. The insistence on objective witnessing means that certain kinds of witnesses who may be politically involved or partisan become secondary in the process of witnessing. This may displace local witnesses to violence and prioritize outsiders as the best kinds of witnesses.

I contrast human rights witnessing with an embedded model of witnessing that we find in the performances of Trojan Women. Euripides’ Trojan Women is a Western classic that Bandaranayake used in Sinhala translation to respond to local issues of violence in the context of the Sri Lankan war. It has been performed in numerous contexts, and has travelled to communities where Tamils live. Here, the Sinhala performances had to transcend linguistic differences where the performance troupe and the audience did not speak the same languages. I will explore how embodied performances and performative adaptations transcended linguistic barriers. I argue that the performances used embodiment, and an open-ended, non-hierarchical model of witnessing in contrast to human rights witnessing. I will demonstrate through the play how different contesting and contrasting forms of testimony are allowed space to co-exist and shape narratives of history. The embedded model also enables inter-textual performances of the play as it responds to and engages with local political movements. The language of the play resonates with the powerful Mothers’ Fronts movements in Sri Lanka where women often protested the killing and disappearances of their sons and husbands to state and para-military forces. Historically, the different Mothers’ Fronts remained divided along ethnic lines despite their demands being similar. Connecting the performances to local protest movements of both ethnic groups allows us to imagine a community of women who perform grief and anger as forms of reconciliation.


More information on the MLA convention generally, including the program, as well as information about the MLA can be found here:

More information about the South Asian Literary Association which is sponsoring this session at the MLA can be found here:

At this website, you will find the announcement that there is to be a special issue of the South Asian Review, the publication of the South Asian Literary Association, on Sri Lankan Anglophone literature.  That special issue is now being edited by Professors Maryse Jayasuriya and Aparna Halpe:

“2012 Special Number of SAR: Sri Lankan Anglophone Writing

“South Asian Review, the refereed journal of the South Asian Literary Association, [invited] submissions for its 2012 special number, Volume 33 Number 3, devoted to Sri Lankan Anglophone literature.  The South Asian Reviewcalls for papers that examine Sri Lankan Anglophone fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, and film. Topics of interest may include writings dealing with ethnic conflict, violence, terrorism, and trauma; the role of Anglophone literature in Sri Lanka; the need for translation and the challenges associated with it; the literature of the Sri Lankan diaspora; the difficulties of publishing in Sri Lanka; Sri Lankan literature in relation to modern technology and globalization; the role of Sri Lankan Anglophone literature in efforts at reconciliation; and Sri Lankan writing in relation to human rights discourse, political protest, and social activism. We are also interested in critical essays that deal with Sri Lankan Anglophone literature in relation to gender, sexualities, class, ethnicity, religion, internal displacements, migration, colonialism, imperialism, postcoloniality, and hybridity.”

source: American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies

CFP: ‘Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods’ Cambridge, UK, March 2013

Please find below information about the first international conference on ‘Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods’, Cambridge, UK, 15-16 March 2013.

Conveners: Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes (University of Cambridge) and Prof. Marcus Banks (University of Oxford).
Full details at http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/2066/

The Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge, and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) are organising the first international conference on ‘Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods: theories and practices’.

This conference aims to investigate the ways in which visual research methods support the development of new perspectives on modern South Asian history. It will explore the strategies employed by historians and scholars of visual (digital) culture, film and visual anthropology when incorporating representations of South Asian history within the framework of traditional historical scholarship. Also, the role of interdisciplinary research in terms of producing, distributing, re-interpreting and repatriating visual records of South Asian history will be assessed throughout several roundtable discussions.

The conference will create for the first time the opportunity to strengthen the network of historians, anthropologists, visual and digital scholars and artists concerned with the re-examination of modern South Asian history across visual records. It proposes four themes of investigation that will support new scholarly developments:

▪       digital humanities and issues of South Asian history, visuality and ethnographic enquiry
▪       theories of visual anthropology relevant to historiographical research of South Asia
▪       examples of historical scholarship strengthened by visual research methodologies
▪       historical and anthropological practices replicated in visual artwork inspired by South Asian history

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Professor Marcus Banks (University of Oxford) and by Professor Christopher Pinney (University College London). Papers, panels and roundtable discussions led by international scholars such as Professor Denis Vidal (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris), Dr Clare Harris (University of Oxford) and Professor Ravi Vasudevan (CSDS, Delhi) will explore new perspectives on visual research methods and modern South Asian history. Also, there will be three exclusive presentations by the renowned visual artists Pushpamala N., Rajkamal Kahlon and Ayisha Abraham. The opening address will be delivered by Professor Sir C.A. Bayly, Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies.

Location: CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT.

The conference organisers invite proposals for papers or presentations of 20 minutes in length. Abstracts of 300 words and an author biography of max. 100 words (including institutional affiliation) should be submitted via email toexploringsouthasianhistorycsas@gmail.com<mailto:exploringsouthasianhistorycsas@gmail.com><mailto:exploringsouthasianhistorycsas@gmail.com<mailto:exploringsouthasianhistorycsas@gmail.com>> by 31 December 2012.

Any questions and concerns can be directed to Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes at amm230[at]cam.ac.uk<http://cam.ac.uk>

Autocritique de l’ONU

Un rapport interne de l’Organisation des Nations Unies (Rapport Petrie, rédigé à la demande du secrétaire général Ban) dénonce les faiblesses de l’Organisation et son incapacité à protéger les populations civiles tamoules durant la phase finale de la guerre entre l’armée de Sri Lanka et les LTTE en mai 2009. Ses annexes fournissent une abondante documentation qui sera indispensable à qui veut comprendre les événements et le comportement de la communauté internationale à l’époque et jusqu’à ce jour.
Les services officiels d’information des Nations Unies ont publié un communiqué à ce sujet, et donné accès au rapport Petrie qui devient de ce fait du domaine public: http://www.un.org/apps/newsFr/storyF.asp?NewsID=29355&Cr=Sri

On trouvera aussi une version antérieure de ce rapport sur le site suivant: http://cl.ly/05042e2R3031. Le lecteur attentif notera que plusieurs passages de ce premier document ont été ‘caviardés’ avant publication; ces passages sont restitués sur le site suivant: http://blog.srilankacampaign.org/2012/11/the-un-internal-petrie-report-into-sri.html
Sans préjuger du contenu du rapport et de l’exploitation politique qui pourra en être faite, qui ne sont pas à ce stade de la compétence de notre carnet de recherche, une lecture critique de la production de ces documents est du plus haut intérêt pour le chercheur en sciences politiques.L’extrait qui est présenté ci-dessous permet de se faire une idée de l’importance du rapport Petrie:

“United Nations failure
75. Cultural challenges: The UN can face significant challenges in retaining the essential support of a Government to help in delivering assistance while at the same time responding to serious violations of international law that may require the UN to issue criticism of the same Government. In the case of Sri Lanka, a number of UNCT and UNHQ senior staff perceived these challenges as dilemmas or as conflicting responsibilities : (i) choosing not to speak up about Government and LTTE broken commitments and violations of international law was seen as the only way to increase UN humanitarian access; (ii) choosing to focus briefings to the Security Council on the humanitarian situation rather than on the causes of the crisis and the obligations of the parties to the conflict was seen as a way to facilitate constructive engagement by the Secretariat with Member States; and (iii) UN support in the establishment of internment camps was seen as the only option for the UN to assist IDPs emerging from the Wanni, even if the IDPs were deprived of freedom of movement and the UN had limited access to them. Decisions at UNHQ and in the field were affected by an institutional culture of trade-offs. The tendency to see options for action in terms of dilemmas frequently obscured the reality of UN responsibilities. In fact, with its multiplicity of mandates and areas of expertise, the UN possessed the capabilities to simultaneously strive for humanitarian access while also robustly condemning the perpetrators of killings of civilians. It should have been able to push further for respect for international norms in the delivery of assistance to IDPs and avoid accusations of complicity in the detention of IDPs.
76. There was a continued reluctance among UNCT institutions to stand up for the rights of the people they were mandated to assist. In Colombo, some senior staff did not perceive the prevention of killing of civilians as their responsibility – and agency and department heads at UNHQ were not instructing them otherwise. Seen together, the failure of the UN to adequately counter the Government’s under-estimation of population numbers in the Wanni, the failure to adequately confront the Government on its obstructions to humanitarian assistance, the unwillingness of the UN in UNHQ and Colombo to address Government responsibility for attacks that were killing civilians, and the tone and content of UN communications with the Government on these issues, collectively amounted to a failure by the UN to act within the scope of institutional mandates to meet protection responsibilities.
77. The tone, content and objectives of UNHQ’s engagement with Member States regarding Sri Lanka were heavily influenced by what it perceived Member States wanted to hear, rather than by what Member States needed to know if they were to respond. Reflection on Sri Lanka by UNHQ and Member States at the UN was conducted on the basis of a mosaic of considerations among which the grave situation of civilians in Sri Lanka competed with extraneous factors such as perceptions of the role of the Secretariat in its relations with Member States and frequently inconclusive discussions on the concept of the Responsibility to Protect. In particular, the Security Council was deeply ambivalent about even placing on its agenda a situation that was not already the subject of a UN peacekeeping or political mandate; while at the same time no other UN Member State mechanism had the prerogative to provide the political response needed, leaving Sri Lanka in a vacuum of inaction.
78. Framework of action: The overall framework for UN action in Sri Lanka was not well- adapted to the Organization’s responsibilities, given the situation. Over the past 15 years, Member States and the UN system have agreed that peace, development and the protection of basic rights are deeply intertwined and mutually reinforcing and that they must be tackled together. Under UN auspices, Member States have adopted a range of interlinked standards that define UN protection responsibilities in situations such as armed conflict. These include: the international human rights law framework of civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights; the adoption of the Responsibility to Protect; and numerous resolutions by the Security Council on protecting civilians in armed conflict through the protection of international human
rights and humanitarian law. All UN entities, whether in the Secretariat or UNCT, are expected to support follow-up and implementation of these standards74; and UN action in Sri Lanka was being measured partly on this basis. And yet, the tools with which the UN can meet its responsibilities vary widely across different country-situations ranging from, on the one hand, Security Council-mandated missions designed for complex political and armed conflict situations to, on the other hand, the UN’s infrastructure in Sri Lanka consisting of a UNCT and RC designed primarily to support development.75 Although additions were made to the UNCT infrastructure in Sri Lanka to help it respond to the conflict, most notably the addition of the Humanitarian Coordinator role and the significant support of OCHA, the staffing composition and structural posture of the UNCT and UNHQ relative to Sri Lanka nevertheless remained largely unchanged. While the UN’s infrastructure remained static, the worsening situation was drastically changing both the UN’s responsibilities and the expectations of the UN’s role. The UN’s development and humanitarian branches were unsuited to the situation and unable to fully address the UN’s political and human rights and humanitarian law responsibilities; while it was these same responsibilities that became most fundamental to the survival of civilians.
79. Above all, UN action in Sri Lanka was not framed by Member State political support. In the absence of clear Security Council backing, the UN’s actions lacked adequate purpose and direction. Member States failed to provide the Secretariat and UNCT with the support required to fully implement the responsibilities for protection of civilians that Member States had themselves set for such situations.
80. Systemic failure: The primary responsibility for killings and other violations against the estimated 360,000 or more civilians trapped during the final stages of the conflict in the Wanni lies with the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. Under very difficult conditions, the UN succeeded in transporting some humanitarian assistance in convoys into the Wanni, in providing a degree of emergency shelter and relief to almost 280,000 survivors who were able to leave the conflict zone, and in positively influencing some aspects of Government plans for IDPs; exceptional attention was devoted to the situation by some senior UNHQ officials, including the USG-Humanitarian Affairs; and the Panel was inspired to find how far many individual staff in the field have gone in their efforts to uphold the principles of the Organisation. Nevertheless, the Panel’s report concludes that events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN to adequately respond to early warnings and to the evolving situation during the final stages of the conflict and its aftermath, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians and in contradiction with the principles and responsibilities of the UN. The elements of what was a systemic failure can be distilled into the following: (i) a UN system that lacked an adequate and shared sense of responsibility for human rights violations; (ii) an incoherent internal UN crisis-management structure which failed to conceive and execute a coherent strategy in response to early warnings and subsequent international human rights and humanitarian law violations against civilians, and
which did not exercise sufficient oversight for UN action in the field; (iii) the ineffective dispersal of UNHQ’s structures to coordinate UN action and to address international human rights and humanitarian law violations across several different UNHQ entities in Geneva and New York with overlapping mandates; (iv) a model for UN action in the field that was designed for a development rather than a conflict response; (v) the most senior position in the field graded at a D1 seniority that was below the heavy responsibilities required of the position, and a corps of senior staff that did not sufficiently include the armed conflict, political, human rights and international humanitarian law and related management experience to deal with the challenge Sri Lanka presented, and who were given insufficient support; (vi) inadequate political support from Member States as a whole, notwithstanding bilateral efforts from all regions, and inadequate efforts by the Secretariat to build such support; and (vii) a framework for Member State engagement with international human rights and humanitarian law protection crises that was outdated and often unworkable, in part because it did not enable Member States to reach a sufficiently early and full political consensus on the situation and the UN response.”

Call for papers: Continuity, Change and Contestation: Multi-disciplinary and Transnational Perspectives on the Asia-Pacific, 24th Annual Graduate Student Conference, Department of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawaii, April 3-5, 2013

The School of Pacific and Asian Studies (SPAS) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) seeks papers, performances, and panel proposals for its 24th annual graduate student conference. The conference will be held on the UHM campus in Honolulu, HI on April 3-5, 2013. The theme this year is CONTINUITY, CHANGE, AND CONTESTATION: MULTIDISCIPLINARY AND TRANSNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE ASIA-PACIFIC.
In particular, we are looking for papers that:
Incorporate multidisciplinary approaches
Challenge approaches based on a national or regional focus
Engage new and emerging trends in Pacific and/or Asian Studies
Involve any original research on Asia and/or the Pacific
Present Asian and/or Pacific performance practices

As this year’s theme indicates, we are interested in accepting papers, performances, and panel proposals that continue, change, and/or contest disciplinary and regional approaches to the study of the Asia/Pacific. With this goal in mind, we also encourage those with a background in the arts to apply with performance proposals.

Please submit the application form by January 15th, 2013. When submitting the application, please rename the file from 2013 SPAS Abstract Submission Form.doc to ApplicantsLastName_ApplicantsFirstName.doc and email it togradconf@hawaii.edu by the submission deadline.

Un recueil de textes sur Sri Lanka soulève des questions fondamentales

Un chercheur américain vient de publier un recueil volumineux de documents et d’études, censé apporter au lecteur une connaissance encyclopédique de l’histoire, de la culture et de la politique de Sri Lanka:

John Clifford Holt: The Sri Lanka Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011; pp 772 + index, illustrations, $34.95

Gananath Obeyesekere, professeur émérite d’anthropologie à l’Université de Princeton, a publié dans la revue indienne Economic and Political Weekly un compte-rendu très critique de cet ouvrage, dont nous vous conseillons la lecture, sous le titre: ‘Sri Lanka Reader plans to do much and therefore achieves too little’: on le trouve sur le site Transcurrents, qui reprend souvent des notes de lecture et des études importantes concernant Sri Lanka:

Nous aurons l’occasion de revenir ultérieurement sur cette publication et sur d’autres ouvrages récents portant sur l’histoire de Sri Lanka, mais nous encourageons dès à présent nos lecteurs à réagir à la lecture de ce compte-rendu qui soulève une série de questions fondamentales concernant les interprétations de l’histoire de la domination coloniale et de la place de la violence dans la société contemporaine

“Jaffna thiruvilas”: a photo serial by Stine Bruland

We are glad to share  the photo  serial “Jaffna thiruvilas” realized during her fieldwork by Stine Bruland,  a PhD Fellow at the institute of Social Anthropology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

For almost 4 months, from June to September, the people in Jaffna worship and celebrate their Gods in the different temple festivals – the kovil thiruvilas- all over the town and the peninsula. When the festival in one temple ends, a new one starts in another temple. The men put on their veetis and the women their best saries – carefully selected days and sometimes months before. The elderly men polish their old, but mostly very well kept cars to bring their family to the temples. They go to see God, to see and be seen by others, to enjoy with their families, sit in the sand while waiting for God to come out of the temple while chatting and getting the latest news from friends and family, eating sweets and snacks from the many small temporary shops – all fully vegetarian as is also their diet during these months.

© Stine Bruland, 2012

 © Stine Bruland, 2012

 © Stine Bruland, 2012

 © Stine Bruland, 2012

 © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

 © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

 © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

 © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

  © Stine Bruland, 2012

 © Stine Bruland, 2012

About the author

Stine Bruland is a PhD Fellow at the institute of Social Anthropology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Her research concerns transnational family relationship among Sri Lankan Tamil families in Jaffna, Oslo and Paris, with a particular focus on generational relations, belonging and family rituals.  Before taking up her position as a PhD fellow at NTNU, Stine was a research assistant at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, undertaking research on Sri Lankan Tamil families in Diaspora, concerning religious and family practices, and long-distance nationalism.



Bruland, S., Forthcoming: “ ‘The eye like’: attractive aesthetics and creative processes of religiosity among Tamil Catholics and Hindus”. In (eds.) Savesek, M. and Meyer, B., Creativity in Transition. Politics and Aesthetics of Circulating Images. New York: Berghahn Books

Bruland, S., Forthcoming: “Long-distance aesthetics: Being here and there. Aesthetics and Emotions in Tamil Nationalism”. In (eds.) Fuglerud, Ø. and Wainwright, L., Art, objects and value; perspectives on creativity and materialization. New York: Berghahn Books

Bruland, S., 2013: “Transgressing Religious Boundaries. The Power of aesthetics in Tamil Hindu and catholic Prayer”. Journal of Material studies.

Bruland, S., 2012. “Nationalism as meaningful life projects in transnational Tamil families”. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35:12, 2134-2152. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01419870.2011.599851

Bruland, S., 2011. ‘Making Home(s). Repères générationnels et nationalisme comme instruments de making home(s), ”faire son chez-soi” chez les activistes politiques de la diaspora tamoule de Norvège’. Hommes et migrations, vol. 1291


Call for papers: Childhoods in South Asia: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives, Australian National University, Canberra, July 18-19, 2013

This workshop aims to provide an interdisciplinary platform for scholars studying diverse childhoods in South Asia. We also aim to enrich our understandings of contemporary childrens lives through historical perspectives. The conference will be held at the Australian National University in Canberra from 18th-19th of July, 2013.

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 childhood.

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 important. Although there is intense theoretical and development interest in children in South Asia, childrens 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 childrens 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:

– childrens experiences, voices and stories
– universal versus multiple childhoods and the historical and
cultural specifities of conceptualizing childhood in South Asia
– how we conceive of childrens agency in relation to structures of
– a critical interrogation of child rights discourse, and the gap
between the rhetoric and reality of childrens participation
– diverse childhoods across class and caste, with a particular focus
upon marginalized children
– how to methodologically approach childrens 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 childrens experiences and agency within the classroom
– children and medicine (childrens understandings and experiences of
illness and healing; discourses surrounding children and health)
– childrens cultures (including play and friendship)
– South Asian childrens literature and childrens 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.

Please submit 200-300 word abstracts for proposed papers by 10th January 2013 to either Dr. Zazie Bowen (Zazie.Bowen@anu.edu.au) or Jessica Hinchy (Jessica.Hinchy@anu.edu.au ).

“History, Postcolonialism and Tradition”, 2013 Conference of the Postcolonial Studies Association, Kingston University, London, September 12-13, 2013

The organisers of the 2013 Postcolonial Studies Association would like to invite proposals for papers on this years theme: History, Postcolonialism and Tradition. The theme is designed to facilitate the opportunity for interdisciplinary dialogue, particularly (but not exclusively) between the spheres of literature, cultural studies, anthropology, the visual arts, the performative arts, folklore, history, politics, and the social sciences.

Issues of history and tradition remain sites of significant contestation for postcolonial studies. Whilst postcolonial studies focuses increasingly on future-thinking this is in tension with, and reliant upon, a continued need to negotiate the postcolonial cultures relationship to often violent histories and the marginalisation of indigenous traditions. Equally, global and diasporic cultures are the sites of complex interplays of productively competing traditions and forms of remembrance. Issues include but are not limited to:

– The difference between history and memory in postcolonial cultures
– Theoretical approaches to postcolonial history (new historicism, cultural materialism)
– Gendered histories and traditions
– Myth, folklore and oral tradition
– Postcolonial historiographies
– Negotiations of history and tradition in literature, creative writing and the visual arts
– History and/or tradition as source of/barrier to political and social change
– Transformations of history and tradition in the context of global and diasporic identities

Confirmed keynote speakers include Robert Irwin (author of The Arabian Nights: A Companion and For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and their Enemies) and Sadhana Naithani (author of In Quest of Indian Tradition and The Story-Time of the British Empire: Colonial and Postcolonial Folkloristics).

The conference will be held at Kingston University (London) from 12-13 September 2013. Short abstracts (approx. 300 words) should be sent to the organisers, Sara Upstone and Andrew Teverson, at the following address: fass-conferences@kingston.ac.uk. The deadline for proposals is 15 April 2013.

Third Asian Conference on Asian Studies: Conference Theme: Intersecting Belongings: Cultural Conviviality and Cosmopolitan Futures, Osaka, Japan, May 24-26, 2013

Contemporary contexts of the local, regional, national and global raise urgent questions about cultural conviviality and cosmopolitan futures across Asia. These are times when trans-cultural, trans-national and multicultural belonging are particularly being tested through environmental catastrophe, economic volatility, parochialism, fundamentalism, notions of cosmopolitan and multicultural exhaustion, and war. Belonging has become a fundamental dynamic of preservation, atavism, tradition and survival as well as hybridity, possibility, change and transformation. The aim of this conference theme is to open up discussion, exploration and analysis in Asian Studies about emerging social, economic, political and cultural trends formed at the intersection of multiple and multi-sited belongings.

The aim of this International Conference on Asian studies is to encourage academics, scholars and practitioners representing a exciting diversity of countries, cultures, and religions to meet and exchange research, ideas and views in a forum encouraging respectful dialogue. ACAS 2013 will afford the opportunity for renewing old acquaintances, making new contacts, and networking across higher education and beyond.

We welcome papers that focus on (but not limited to):

* Seeking refuge
* Unruly belonging(s)
* Intersections of gender, race, religion, sexuality
* Transforming cultures
* Trans-cultural displacement/belonging
* New imaginings/formations of home
* Citizenship beyond borders
* Communication, new technologies and belonging
* Cultural narratives of belonging/not belonging
* Cultural politics of survival/transgression
* Cosmopolitan exhaustion/renewal
* Belonging in the Anthropocene
* Construction of identities
* Multiple and complex belongings
* Intersecting narratives and identity
* Re-locating culture across borders

Deadline for call for papers: 1 February 2013.

Professor Baden Offord
School of Arts and Social Sciences
Southern Cross University
PO Box 157 Lismore
Phone: 61 2 66 203 162
Email: baden.offord@scu.edu.au
Visit the website at http://acas.iafor.org/

CFP International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Inter Cultural Dialogue (ICFLT&ICD)

Foreign language teaching (FLT) and study is witnessing a renaissance in India after its introduction in the universities of Delhi in the 1950s and 1960s. The last decade has seen departments being opened and expanded in all parts of the country. Often they work in tandem with language centers run by the embassies such as those of Japan, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany and France who pool resources on the array of teaching methodologies, and sophisticated strategies to attract learners. FLT methodology forms a vital aspect of all language departments and in the last few years there has been a spurt in learner corpora and publications on this subject.

It is perhaps also an opportune time to reflect on the premises that have guided foreign language teaching and learning in India. In the nineteenth century, as we know, the teaching of English by the colonial government was considered a measure to create pliant administrators and functionaries. However, the study of English literature and language fortuitously acquired a life of its own and English became an important link language between states. It internationalized education in India and gave a boost to philosophical and political thought on the nature of British rule among other things.

In a post colonial scenario to what extent have utilitarian considerations and the creation of employment avenues guided the opening of other European and Asian language schools? Given the volatile nature of markets and the rise and fall of particular languages in economic terms, should education lean on short term result oriented frameworks or be intellectually sustaining for a lifetime? Does globalization mean only marketability of education and students or does it also open up new vistas like the study of the culture, philosophy and ethos of other nations? Is foreign language teaching fulfilling the Nehruvian vision of interdisciplinary studies encompassing the social sciences? Since translation is one of the prime foci of language learning, have language learners been able to meet the demands for translations across disciplines? Finally how do literature, films and the arts promote understanding and build bridges between countries? Are they tools to come closer to the Other or merely to study the reflection of the Self in another?

We intend to hold a seminar at the School of Languages in Doon University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India in the Himalayan foothills on these and related matters. Presently we have three languages: Chinese, Spanish and German but papers dealing with the above thematic are invited from all foreign language and English teachers or researchers engaged in cross cultural initiatives from India and abroad. We feel learning and pooling our resources about our craft and shared topics of concern will enhance our caliber as professionals in our chosen areas.

250-300 word abstracts are invited but not limited to the following topics:

– Methodologies of teaching foreign languages

– The role of literature, films and the arts in the dissemination of other languages and cultures

– Political economy of foreign language teaching

– Translation and Interpretation studies and practices in India

Papers on any related theme are also welcome. Abstracts of a maximum of 300 words are to be submitted by Saturday, 26th January 2013 through email to soldoonuniversity@gmail.com. Acceptance of abstracts will be notified by mid of March. Abstracts should be in MS-Word format with the following information in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of paper e) body of abstract.

E-mails should be entitled: Doon University ICFLT&ICD 2013 Abstract Submission.

Swagata Basu
School of Languages,
Doon University
Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Email: basu.swagata@gmail.com
Visit the website at http://doonuniversityevents.wordpress.com/sol-conference-2013/

Un nouveau festival de cinéma consacré aux films du sous-continent indien à Paris du 16 au 20 janvier 2013


Paris, ville de cinéma. Avec ses très nombreuses salles et tous ses festivals, la capitale française propose une offre cinématographique quasiment incomparable. Cependant, le cinéma du sous-continent indien reste peu visible, et les quelques projections ponctuelles de films venant d’Asie du Sud ne suffisent pas à montrer la richesse d’une production encore largement méconnue.
Constatant donc ce manque, nous proposons un festival unique afin de présenter différentes réalisations venant du Pakistan, du Bangladesh, du Sri Lanka, du Népal et des différentes régions de l’Inde.
Trop souvent réduits dans la vision occidentale au kitsch de Bollywood, les cinémas venant de cette partie du globe se révèlent bien plus variés et complexes qu’ils n’y paraissent. C’est l’enjeu et le défi de ce festival : ouvrir une nouvelle fenêtre – un nouvel écran – sur l’Asie.

   Le festival est proposé par l’association SAPNA, avec la participation d’Aanna Films, aura lieudu 16 au 20 janvier 2013 – Cinémas Gaumont Champs-Elysées.

   Toutes les informations sur : http://ffast.fr/accueil/festival

source: http://www.larevuedelinde.com/actu.htm#Un_nouveau_festival_de_cin%E9ma_%E0_Paris


Appel à communications : “L’enfermement au prisme des sciences sociales”

Vous trouverez ci-joint un appel à communications, en français et en anglais, pour le colloque “L’enfermement au prisme des sciences sociales :

Rapprocher les lieux, confronter les approches” organisé par le programme de recherche TerrFerme (ANR/Conseil Régional d’Aquitaine).

Le colloque aura lieu du 17 au 19 octobre 2013 au sein du laboratoire ADES (UMR 5185) à Pessac (Bordeaux) et les propositions de communication (3000

signes) sont à envoyer à l’adresse colloqueterrferme2013@gmx.fr avant le 1er février 2013.

Toutes les informations sont également disponibles sur http://terrferme13.sciencesconf.org


Please find enclosed a call for papers (in French and English) for the international conference on “Confinement viewed through the prism of the social sciences: Contrasting facilities, confronting approaches”, organized by the research programme TerrFerme (ANR/Conseil Régional d’Aquitaine).

The conference will take place in October 2013 (17th to 19th) in ADES, Pessac (Bordeaux, France) and the proposals (3000 signs) are to be sent at colloqueterrferme2013@gmx.fr until February, 1st 2013.

The information is also available on http://terrferme13.sciencesconf.org

Call for papers for panel: “India as a humanitarian actor: newbie or old hand?”, BASAS conferences in Leeds, April 2013

my colleague Kristina Roepstorff and I, we are seeking other scholars to join our panel “India as a humanitarian actor: newbie or old hand?” for the upcoming BASAS conferences in Leeds in April 2013.

Please see the following panel abstract:

“India is generally regarded a major recipient of humanitarian and development assistance. Recent studies and analyses however draw attention to Indias growing importance as humanitarian actor. While still being a recipient of development assistance, India increasingly plays an active part in humanitarian assistance by channeling funds through multilateral organizations and by contributing to policy discussions and innovations. At the same time, and in light of the financial crises, traditional donors welcome the increasing involvement of non-traditional donors in humanitarian assistance.
Highlighting the shift from recipient to donor, these studies more often than not portray India as a new player in the field of humanitarian assistance. While Indias engagement in humanitarian assistance has certainly taken a new dimension over the last decade, characterized among other things by a growing involvement at the international level, Indias history and practice of humanitarian assistance has yet to be studied systematically. Taking an interdisciplinary and diachronic approach, the panel thus explores Indias role in humanitarian assistance from the beginning of the 20th century until today. Placing Indias role in humanitarian assistance within the broader historical and political context, the panel addresses questions regarding the emergence of humanitarianism in India, the nature and geographical allocation pattern of humanitarian aid over time, and compares Indias role as humanitarian actor in the past and present.”

We are particular interested in papers dealing with the history of India’s humanitarian action in the period 1945-1990.

If you are interested, please send us an email or an abstract (150-200 words). The deadline is 5 Dec. 2013.

Best Maria Framke


Maria Framke
Humboldt-University Berlin
SFB 640

Call for papers: Ethnographies of drug use among urban youths in Asia for special issue of International Journal of Drug Policy

To be confident, attractive and happy: Ethnographies of drug use among urban youths in Asia

Guest editors: Anita Hardon and David Hymans

We seek contributions that present ethnographic insights on how urban youths in Asia use a broad range of illicit narcotics as well as (off-label) pharmaceuticals and cosmetic chemicals to achieve their desired mental and bodily states in daily life. Our premise is that to understand drug use (thus broadly construed) among youths, we need to examine the purposes for which drugs are used  in their own terms.

We are especially interested in contributions that give central importance to the social relations surrounding drug use, including how knowledge of specific substances travels through youth networks, the internet, the creative marketing of novel drugs, and from the prescribing practices of medical professionals. Ethnographic questions to be addressed in the papers include: Why do youths turn to drugs? What effects are they seeking? What role do drugs play in calming their fears, in achieving their dreams and aspirations, in shaping their bodies? Which drugs do they use on a daily basis? Where and in what social context? Which drugs or combinations of drugs do youths experiment with? What desired or adverse effects do they experience? What (if any) social transformations ensue through their use? How are the drugs administered? Are they mixed with other substances? Where do youths get information on (new) drugs, and on their (adverse) effects? How is chemical use related to their working lives? How are drug-use practices embedded in and conditioned by ever-changing urban youth cultures, local drug markets, health care institutions and policies, and by state and police interventions that constrain availability and use in various ways?

Abstracts (not to exceed 350 words) are invited for contributions to this forthcoming special issue of the International Journal of Drug Policy (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/international-journal-of-drug-policy). We invite three types of contributions (3,000-6,000 words):

Research papers: based on original ethnographic research conducted in Asia.

Methods papers: presenting innovations in ethnographic methods to study drug use among youths (such as visual and virtual ethnography).

Analyses of youth drug use policies and programs in Asia: a critical review of policies and programs that aim to change drug use practices among youth in order to reduce harm and protect their health. We welcome both contemporary and historical analyses.

Abstracts should be emailed to m.derooij@uva.nl and a.p.hardon@uva.nl by December 31, 2012. The email subject heading should read IJDP Special Issue. The editors will inform authors by January 16, 2013 whether to proceed to full submission. If selected, complete manuscripts will be due by April 3, 2013. All manuscripts are subject to the normal IJDP peer review process. The special issue will be published in the fall of 2013.

Drs. M.C. (Martine) de Rooij
University of Amsterdam
Research Manager
Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research
Programme Group Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
020-5252503  M.deRooij@uva.nl  Room S0.06
Present: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday

source: H-Asia