Details of Planetary Futures and the Global South, IASA Bienniel Conference, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur 16-18 January 2018
In association with:
DAAD-Global South Network, University of Tuebingen
JNU-UPE-II Project “Asian Crossroads: Indic Neighbourhoods, Global Connections,”
Project on Science and Spirituality, JNU
Samvad India Foundation, New Delhi
The 8th Biennial IASA Conference held at the Department of English, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur took off on the 16th of Jan. 2018. Academicians from different parts of India as well as from Germany and Australia travelled to the City of Lakes to attend the event. The Conference was inaugurated by Prof. V.K. Malhotra, Member Secretary, Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi, and the keynote was given by Prof. Rakesh Mohan Joshi, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi while Prof. G. Soral from the host University Chaired the session. During the inaugural session besides the release of the Conference Souviner the book Debating the ‘Post’ Condition in India: Critical Vernaculars, Unauthorized Modernities, Post-Colonial Contentions by Prof. Makarand Pranjape was also released by the dignitaries.
There were fourteen technical sessions, two plenary, and one special session. The first plenary session on the second day was a panel discussion on ‘Identity, Ethics, and Rhetoric’ . Prof. Vijaya Ramaswami dealt with the issue of Tamil identity. Prof. Vyjayanti Raghavan traced the foundation, in logic, of Confucianism in the Korean context, Prof. Pradeep Trikha dealt with the shaping of the Australian short fiction during the 1960s to the 90s. The discussion modulated by Prof. Makarand Paranjape led to vibrant discussion and some very useful deductions. The second plenary session held in the Udaipur Chamber of Commerce and Industry had Prof. Anne Brewster of New South Wales University of Australia, presenting a paper on “ Roanna Gonsalves’ Fiction : The Permanent Resident”. The issue of structural violence in the context of racism in Australia was one of the important paradigms discussed by her. The special session on Indian Ocean: Culture, Geography, Security added the very important geographical dimension to the discourse of Planetary Futures. The Chairperson of the Valedictory Session Prof. B. P. Sharma, Director, Pacific Institute of Education, rightly, focused upon the need to convert the demographic dividends of the Global South into the service of the future of the planet. The chief speaker Prof. Helen Pringle of NSW University of Australia expressed her sentiments with a poem admiring the IASA activities as well as the Udaipur conference.
During the presentation of some 68 papers and the ensuing discussions some of the points made can be summed up in the following manner-
- Identity, individualism, independence and related ethos perched on difference and uniqueness end up being DIVISIVE, whereas, collectivism, that celebrates commonality, sharedness, and belonging leads to harmonious co-existence. Balancing individual emancipation and collectivity in a nuanced manner might indicate towards a Global future where the hegemonic structures/ the Northern dominance can be effectively challenged. How rightly the poet Sarshaar Sailani said-
Chaman me ikhtilat-e-rang-boo se baat banati he
Hum hi hum hen to kya hum hen
Tum hi tum ho to kyat um ho…
- Return to nature as reflected in the folk/tribal/indigenous/aboriginal arts, literature, culture, and epistemological systems could be the alter directions.
- Grassroots movements could provide a much required impetus to the challenges that the Global South needs to throw in order to save the planet.
- There is an urgent need to distinguish rhetoric from genuine discourses of concern in relation to the issues of Identity and Ethics as well as to see through the politics, hegemonies, violence embedded in ideological, cultural structures not the least those of binaries like north/south, patriarchy/feminism, civilization/primitivism, culture/nature etc.
- Demographic dividend needs to be channelized constructively and cultivated into an asset. The planet can’t afford this to go astray to play havoc with the ‘progress’ made so far. The Globe, at the present moment, as much as at the time of writing of the poem ‘The Second Coming’, reverberates with the words of Yeats-
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The best lack all conviction
The worst are full of passionate intensity
Surely the second coming is at hand.
Besides the business of the conference, the general body meeting of the IASA carried the goal of the forum forward by registering new life members and planning future course of action under the highly able and dynamic leadership of Prof. Makarand Paranjape. While every member of the host department was trying to do what she/he is best at, the General Secretary of IASA and the Coordinator of conference Prof. Pradeep Trikha stole the show by putting up two beautiful and delicious evenings for the entertainment, enjoyment, and enrichment of the participants. The first was a cultural eve that provided a glimpse into the regional culture. The second was a lakeside feast. Even after the valedictory on the third day the conference delegates were taken to the heart of the city, the residence of the present Maharana of Mewar in the premises of the city palace museum. There, a boat ride to Jagniwas Palace and the guided walk through the School of Art run by the Maharana Mewar Public School was probably the most fitting finale of the three day long intellectual festival. We won’t be surprised if the participants felt happily trapped throughout the three long days though we did come to know that many of them managed to squeeze out, time and again, not being able to resist the lure of the city.
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CALL FOR PAPERS
India has been called the “cross-roads” of the entire region of the Indian ocean oecumene, literally on the “road to everywhere.”1 For almost every important intellectual, political, and cultural current from East to the West and from West to the East, India became the point of transition, mediation, or even fruition. This is as true of the evolution of British colonialism in Asia and Australia as it is of prior times. The question, however, is how these connections might play out in the future, but also in terms of how futures are to be imagined, designed, and executed from hereon. It is this exciting discursive terrain of future studies that this conference fouces on, with special referene to India, Australia, and the Global South.
The aim of this conference is to study some of these cross currents of Global Futures, to document available knowledge about them, explore alternative futures for Indic-Australian inter-relationships, and to create new paradigms for understanding the globalisation of both India and Australia in this light. Our main objective, then, would be to try to explore Indic-Australian connections from colonialism to global futures and begin to explore the range of ideas and processes implicit to these processes. With this view we plan to engage with the history, politics, and cultural formations of cross-connections between India, Australia, and the Global South, giving primacy to oceanic and cross-continental intellectual and cultural traffic. In addition, the conference will focus on issues such as traditional knowledge systems, spiritual and sacred practices, Indo-Australasian nationalisms, transfers of science, technology, and culture, and relations in social practices, arts, and media in the region, especially as they impact our thinking on Global Futures.
At its most ambitious, this project is about “re-presenting” India, Australia, and the Global South not just in a post-imperialistic, increasingly globalized world-system, but beyond these into systematic thinking and planning of planetary futures. The word “represent” is used here in both its commonly understood senses, as likeness, bringing to life or going back to its Latin root esse or presence, represent as making present. But every description is, necessarily, also an interpretation. So to represent Indo-Australian connections in their oceanic, global, and futures contexts would also be to reinterpret them. The other meaning of represent is to stand or speak for; to resisting others’ definitions of us, so that we, in India, Australia, and others in the Global South, speak for ourselves, taking charge of how we represent ourselves.2 Indeed, both ways of looking at Indic-Australian connections are relevant to our conference.
In our shared contexts, this might imply the constructing of new disciplinary paradigms or institutional apparatuses. It might also mean competing for legitimation in how our regions are understood or studied, finally to declare ourselves as interested parties or stake-holders in such a process of designing Global Futures. It would also implicate us in challenging other, for example, imperial representations and to offer alternatives to them. The composition of research groups, with experts from the various communities of India, Australia, and the Global South, to examine their inter-relationships, and, finally, their connections with flows in capital, culture, science and technology, along with the futures of such, would be the ultimate outcome of this conference.
- Global Futures for India and Australia
- Crossroads – roots and routes in the India-Australia dialogue
- Global-Local knowledge flows
- Alternative Global South: Who’s Futures?
- Heritage Futures: Epistemology and Identity
- History and its Shadows
- Spiritual Pragmatics
- Traditional Knowledge, Sacred Practice and Spirituality
- Nationalisms and Beyond: The Politics of local-global interaction
- Hybrid Knowledge Futures: Science, culture, technology in the India-Australia context
- Representations- Media and the Arts – Re-Orient
- Research as Resistance: Voice and Optimism in a shrinking world
- Pathways to Meaning and Co-Creation – research collaborations across borders
Last date for the submission of Abstract: 15 October, 2017
Approval of abstracts: 15 November, 2017
Last date for the submission of Conference Paper: 10 December, 2017
Foreign Delegates (with accommodation): USD500
Foreign Delegates (without accommodation): USD 80
Indian Outstation Delegates (with accommodation): INR 5000
Indian Delegates (without accommodation): INR 2500
Special discounted fee for students (without accommodation): INR 1000
General Secretary, IASA and Conference Coordinator,
Professor Pradeep Trikha, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur: firstname.lastname@example.org
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1. In her path-breaking study, Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350
(New York: Oxford University Press. 1991), Janet Abu-Lughod, not only gave a detailed description of the larger Indian oceanic geo-political neighbourhood before European hegemony, but decribed India thus.
2. These two meanings of represent have been encapsulated as “portrait” and “proxy” by noted post-colonial critic, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in her much cited essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Spivak, following Marx, invokes the German words, darstellung and vertretung to suggest these two meanings respectively.