CFP: The South Asia Graduate Student Conference XVI, U. Chicago, March 8-9, 2019


The South Asia Graduate Student Conference XVI
The University of Chicago, March 8–9, 2019

The organizing committee of the South Asia Graduate Student Conference at the University of Chicago is delighted to announce its sixteenth annual conference, South Asia: The Political, the Public, the Popular, to be held on March 8–9, 2019. We invite papers from graduate students at all levels to explore these categories in contemporary and historical South Asia.

In tracing the development of the political, the public, and the popular, we wish to interrogate both their mutually constitutive character and the limitations of their intersection. As these concepts have become increasingly widespread in scholarship on South Asia, we ask whether they require a distinct theorization that accounts for their application in the region. This year’s conference will take place a month before the general election in India and in the wake of major elections in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, posing the timely question of how democratic processes engage in and shape political life, the public sphere, and popular culture. At the same time, we welcome an understanding of the political that extends beyond governance and institutions to include its construction in and through the arts, mass culture, media, and entertainment.

We invite papers that interrogate topics such as:

  • Institutions, elections, and political representation
  • Politics of public space in everyday life
  • Censorship and regulation of popular culture
  • Mass communication and political mobilization
  • Religion and the politics of populism
  • Mass culture and art forms in the public sphere
  • Cinema, politics, and movie-going publics
  • Gender, caste, minorities, and subaltern counterpublics
  • Environmentalism in popular culture
  • South Asia and the global public sphere
  • Theorizations of “the political” in South Asia

Keynote speakers for the conference are Ayesha Jalal, Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University, and Pamela Philipose, the public editor of the Indian news website The Wire.

Graduate students at any level and any stage of research are encouraged to apply. Past conferences have accepted papers from such diverse fields as cinema and media studies, history, political science, literature, environmental studies, religious studies, art history, science studies, philosophy, anthropology, and sound and visual studies, but we welcome all disciplinary approaches and methodologies. Interested applicants should send a 250-word abstract to by January 4, 2019, and should apply as individuals, not as panels. Presentations should be 15–20 minutes long. Conference organizers will assist with travel and lodging for selected participants. Please write to us at the above address with any questions.

Download the CFP Flyer here

Organizing Committee:
Andrew Halladay, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Titas De Sarkar, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Zoya Sameen, Department of History

Faculty Advisor:
Laura Letinsky, Professor, Department of Visual Arts

See webpage

CFP: ‘Innovations in the Social Sciences and Humanities’ at HCMC, Vietnam

Innovations in the Social Sciences and Humanities

4th and 5th of October 2019.
Ho Chi Minh City, Socialist republic of Vietnam

Welcome to the website for the conference Innovations in the Social Sciences and Humanities, jointly organised by The University of Trieste, Italy; the Universität Leipzig, Germany; National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan; University of Warwick, UK; College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (CHESS) at Purdue University Northwest (PNW), USA; and Ton Duc Thang University, Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Conference Venue – Ton Duc Thang University

Address: 19 Nguyen Huu Tho Street, Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Invitation and Call for papers:

For the International Conference 4-5 October 2019 at Ton Duc Thang University,HCMC, Vietnam, we would like to hear from those working on innovative approaches to public engagement in the social sciences and humanities. Methodological, empirical, archival or conceptual-theoretical work is encouraged, especially where a keen interest in application, consequence, practice or outcome is involved. Sometimes this is called impact on the one side, or intervention on the other, but we are nevertheless interested in all inquiries and investigations which advance the emancipatory possibilities of scholarship in a radically changed global context.

Social and cultural practices in both modern life and in the preservation of historical memory, could suitably connect sociology, social work, history, ethno-anthropology (museums, exhibitions, fairs, monuments, collective ceremonies), cultural tourism, eco-preservation policies, and other urgent contemporary social issues. Comparative studies are welcome, but not the only focus. We are especially interested in deep and detailed studies which have wider significance and suggestions for ‘best practice’. After many years of ‘interdisciplinarity’, or at least talk about this, we are interested to see examples where this works well in practice. We can assume all studies are comparative and interdisciplinary in a way, and all certainly have consequences, implications…

We are especially keen to hear from those working in three overlapping areas of engaged activity: these may be people working as anthropologists, historians, museum and preservation/heritage studies; cultural geographers, sociologists and in cultural studies; or on border studies, migrant labor and workplace and institutional inquiries. Our themes will interact within the structure of the conference, but we are keen in particular to go deeply into each area.

With Innovations in Public Engagement we anticipate discussions of the ways scholarship might best go about communicating in public the experience of the past and of human, cultural and environmental diversity, including technological and bio-political innovations and their contemporary reshaping of pasts and presents. Challenges to questions of who produces scholarship and why, for whom and by whom, can apply to past and present uses of knowledge, where the models of research and inquiry are actively reworked in the face of new public demands.

With Historical/contemporary practices and policies we seek to address issues related to contemporary forms of social conflict, including unequal citizenship and new racisms, the rise of right-wing populist movements and infiltration of religious power in secular governmentality, migrant workers as neoliberal slavery, questions of human trafficking and refugees, developmentalism and environmental pollution, crony capitalism and geo-economic zoning politics.

With Innovations of methodology, training and new skills for the future it seems to us crucial that our work respond to rapid reconfigurations of the very possibility and consequences of engaged social sciences and humanities scholarship. Whether the changing context is imposed by governments by industry or by civil society, when we deal with institutional change and competitive and imperative demands, we do need to develop new tools for knowledge(s) and new sensibilities/sensitivities. Education, reform and responsiveness, new skills and objectives, new modes of investigation and teaching in general. An urgent and targeted focus on how scholarship might remain relevant and critical in the face of global trends – funding cuts, social constraints, new demands, new conservatism, and crises of certitude.

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam will be our venue, but it need not necessarily be the context or focus of all papers, nor are comparative, or East-West or ‘post’ or neo-colonial framings always to be foregrounded in the papers. We are interested however in papers that encourage us to think anew about the implications of where we are and about how to re-orient humanities and social sciences scholarship in contexts where rising tensions in East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia call on us to innovate and apply once more.

On acceptance of your paper, we will provide you a letter of acceptance or an invitation letter for your visa application to Vietnam or financial sponsorship from your institution. Therefore, you are encouraged to submit your paper at the earliest time possible.


The conference proceedings and papers will be in English.

Important dates:

  • Abstract Submission: By February 28th, 2019
  • Notification of Paper Acceptance: Before March 30th, 2019
  • Full Paper Submission: By May 30th, 2019
  • Registration and Payment by: August 20th, 2019 (early bird discounts apply)
  • Conference Dates: October 4th– 5th, 2019

We look forward to receiving your contributions and kindly ask you to disseminate the call to your colleagues who may be interested in participating the conference.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you need any further information.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Joyce C.H. Liu (National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan)
  • Professor Virinder Kalra (Warwick University, UK)
  • Professor Ursula Rao (Universität Leipzig, Germany)
  • Professor Stephen Muecke (The University of Adelaide)
  • Professor Elaine Carey (CHESS: Purdue University Northwest);


The conference themes are organised in three overlapping streams

(section chairs will report back to the other streams at the end of each day):


1. Innovations in Public Engagement

  • Memory and Public history
  • Problems of Representation for and by who?
  • Knowledge and Inquiries

2. Historical/contemporary practices and policies

  • New approaches in studies of social conflict issues
  • Perspectives on new methods, inquiries, engagements.
  • Rethinking the tools of scholarship in new times.
  • Tourism studies, international, national, local/global cultural markets.

3. Innovations of methodology, training and new skills for the future

  • New studies of production and consumption of place
  • Tourism studies, international, national, local/global cultural markets.
  • Education and national futures, continuity, start-up, renewal, change.
  • Ecology and environment, people, animals, plants


Publishing opportunities

Accepted and presented abstracts/papers will be published in the conference proceeding. Presenters of full papers will have opportunities to publish their papers in either a special issue of the journal Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, in Social Identities, or in a special book-length volume of essays from the University of Trieste Press.

See conference website

CFP: Winter School @ IIT-Delhi (collab. w. U-Groningen & Frobenius-Institut) – Changing Grounds: Dynamics of Culture and Livelihood, Feb 11-15 2019

Winter School 2019_Changing Grounds_Dynamics of Culture and Livelihood_compressed copy-1



This winter school (11-15 February 2019) invites students to reflect on the interaction between culture and livelihoods in processes of change. When considering change, often either the economic dimension or the cultural dimension is foregrounded, the other side neglected. In the life-worlds of specific communities and individuals, however, these dimensions necessarily converge and cannot be separated. The forms and materiality of subsistence are always enmeshed in symbolic processes and part of cultural ways of seeing the world and defining one’s identity. The recent reformulation of the concept of “resource” exactly aims at bridging this artificial divide between economy and culture (Bartelheim, Hardenberg, et al. 2015). Any resource is constructed by a given group of people according to what it values and a specific resource helps generating the means, products and relationships that are considered vital for its continued existence.

The winter school considers different forms of livelihoods. However, particular attention will be paid to crops such as rice, millet or wheat. We are especially interested in processes of competition between crops that drive the processes of change under discussion. For instance, despite the fact that millet has a high nutritious value and grows on dry soils in many places it has been marginalized by rice. In other instances cash crops or cheaper products from global markets put local grains under pressure. Juxtaposed in this way are not only crops but often life-styles. Certain crops are regarded as high status and “modern”, while other crops are considered to the inferior and “primitive”. Millet in particular has this fate in some regions as it is associated with allegedly harmful practice of shifting cultivation and “backward” Adivasi communities. Modes of livelihood thus always inform and are the basis of processes of identification and differentiation, of identity and alterity.

While we will also discuss the dynamics between culture and livelihoods with regard to other communities and contexts, we will especially focus on Indian Adivasi groups. With reference to these groups in particular we will ask, why people choose to abandon certain crops or other forms of livelihood and adopt another. Why is the cultivation of valuable crops abandoned and which factors play a role in this process? As usually cultivation is closely embedded in worldviews and related practices, how does such a change correspond to the ritual and religious dimensions of life? How do relationships between groups, but also with the state change accordingly? What are other relevant actors in this process?

The teachers of the winter school will present different theoretical frameworks — mainly from anthropology and sociology, but also from archeobotany — and will engage the students with specific case studies from different parts of India, for instance from the Nilgiris, Odisha and Rajasthan.


Dr. Peter Berger, University of Groningen (the Netherlands)
Prof. René Cappers, University of Groningen (the Netherlands)
Prof. Roland Hardenberg, Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany)
Prof. Frank Heidemann, Ludwig Maximillian University Munich (Germany)
Dr. Richa Kumar, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Who Can Apply?

The winter school is meant for students who have completed their MA/M.Mphil degrees in the humanities or social sciences (or will do so in the near future), who have an interest in these topics and think about engaging in PhD research in this field in the future.

How to Apply?

Please send us a copy of your CV and a one page write up/research proposal on what your research is about or what you planning to work on in future PhD research. Please clearly state your research question in the proposal.

Please send the documents to: <>

When is the Last Date?

The Last Date for sending your application is 15 December 2018.

Organising Institutions:

Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Frobenius Institute, Goethe University of Frankfurt

Participation Fees:
The Winter School is free for Indian Students and for students from Partnering Institutions (University of Munich; University of Frankfurt and University of Groningen). Non-Indian students from non-partnering institutions are required to pay 200 Euros for the Winter School. This does not include their flight and accommodation. We will provide food during the day time (Lunch, Tea and Snack).


Dr Sarbeswar Sahoo
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
Hauz Khas, New Delhi, 110016

For more, visit the IIT Delhi event page