Punjab Research Group

Diasporas: Exploring Critical Issues, 5th Global Conference, 29th June-1st July 2012

Posted in Conferences, News/Information by santhyb on November 15, 2011

Date: Friday 29th June 2012 – Sunday 1st July 2012

Venue: Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Papers:  This inter- and multi-disciplinary project seeks to explore the contemporary experience of Diasporas – communities who conceive of themselves as a national, ethnic, linguistic or other form of cultural and political construction of collective membership living outside of their ‘home lands.’ Diaspora is a concept which is far from being definitional. Despite problems and limitations in terminology, this notion may be defined with issues attached to it for a more complete understanding. Such a term which may have its roots in Greek, is used customarily to apply to a historical phenomenon that has now passed to a period that usually supposes that Di­asporas are those who are settled forever in a country other from where they were born and thus this term has lost its dimension of irreversibility and of exile.

In order to increase our understanding of Diasporas and their impact on both the receiving countries and their respective homes left behind, key issues will be addressed related to Diaspora cultural expression and interests. In addition, the conference will address the questions: Do Diasporas continue to exist? Is the global economy, media and policies sending different messages about diaspora to future generations?

Papers, workshops, presentations and pre-formed panels are invited on any of the following themes:

1. Movies and Diasporas

The presence and impact of displaced / globalized populations of audiences, spectators and producers of new mainstream /Hollywood/ Bollywood cinema are crucial to the emergence of this post-diasporic cinema, as these narratives from texts to screen constitute a fundamental challenge for the negotiation of complex diasporic issues.

2. Motivational Factors for Research into Diaspora

Factors are numerous including most prominently, artistic and musical creations, intellectual outputs, and specific religious practices and which have made a significant international impact.

3. Myths and Symbols: how to meet, and get to know each other through the use of creative lenses
Diasporas group, re-group and their group myths and symbols change accordingly. Or Diasporas remain dominated, their myths and symbols mirror (or rebel) their domination. This manifestation could take in linguistic, artistic and other creative forms right down to graffiti to propaganda. The effects of Diaspora through a creative lens, as often this is where the true effects of migration and cultural adjustment expose themselves in a personal and celebratory way. These could include:

* Creative Expression as a result of shifting and integrating cultures. Cross cultural and cross disciplinary practices / cross cultural collaboration / representing the self and the nation / connecting history to the future / third space practice

* Shifting Art Practices and how traditional folk based art forms (art / music / literature / dance) can accommodate and represent modern diasporic communities in flux

* New Languages that represent broken boundaries such as graffiti / rap/ interactive & web based art forms / global design aesthetics/ symbolism / sound & vision / poetry and text / Esperanto

4. Public, Private and Virtual Spaces of Diaspora

The controversial meaning of private/public spaces remain fundamental arenas in the re/construction of gendered identities in an in-between space as a Diaspora context nurtures challenges to traditional socio-cultural behaviors. Virtual Diasporas – This questions a range of pre conceived notions about physicality, actuality and place (which in turn open up the discussions around ownership, representation and nation). Virtual diasporas are not limited to the arts of course but the shifts toward new technologies within art and design production are highlighting such issues through various forms of creativity and the critique that surrounds it.

We anticipate that these and related issues will be of interest to those working/researching in philosophy, education, ethics, cinematic/ literature, politics, sociology, history, architecture, photography, geography, globalization, international relations, refugee studies, migration studies, urban studies and cultural studies.

5. Novel ways to think about Diaspora due to globalization

In the new global world in which cultures act simultaneously how should we be thinking about Diaspora?

Some pertinent questions in this area that the conference is interested in addressing are: What are some of the ways to identity and define the subject in changing political boundaries where cultural interactions are amplified? What are the processes of social formation and reformation of? Diasporas that is unique to a global age? How do an intensified migration age that is coupled with broader and more flexible terrains of social structures can give Diaspora communities a window of opportunity to redefine their social position in both the country of origin and the host country? How does immigration in an age where the media and the internet are highly accessible, bring individuals to deal with multiple levels of traditions and cultures? What new cross-‘ethnoscapes’ and cross-‘ideoscapes’ are emerging in? In what new methods can we capture the web of forces that influences Diasporas at the same time?

Other aspects of Diaspora that we are interested in having discussions about are:

* Economics of diaspora
* Gendered diasporas
* Queer diasporas ‘flexible citizenship’
* Contested diasporic identities
* Invisible diasporas
* Emerging and changing patterns – is there an ‘American diaspora’ in
China? In Dubai? Etc.
* Stateless or homeless diasporas – diasporas of no return
* Guest workers as diasporans?
* Diasporas created by shifting state boundaries
* Internal (intranational diasporas) – for example, First Nations or
Indigenous/Native migration into urban areas
* Diasporans by adoption or ‘diasporans-in-law’ (partners of diasporans
adopted into diasporic communities, extended diasporas through family
relations, etc.)
* Overlapping diasporas, entanglement
* Competing claims or multiple claims on diasporans Inter-diasporan or
multi-diasporan realities

The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 13th January 2012. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 11th May 2012. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs;abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: DIAS5 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). Please note that a Book of Abstracts is planned for the end of the year. We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Dr S. Ram Vemuri
School of Law and Business
Faculty of Law, Business and Arts
Charles Darwin University
Darwin NT0909
Australia
Email: Ram.Vemuri@cdu.edu.au

Rob Fisher
Network Founder and Leader
Inter-Disciplinary.Net
Freeland, Oxfordshire,
United Kingdom
Email: dias5@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the ‘Diversity and Recognition’ series of research projects, which in turn belong to the At the Interface programmes of ID.Net. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and challenging. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be published in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be invited to go forward for development into 20-25 page chapters for publication in a themed dialogic ISBN hard copy volume.

For further details of the project, please visit:

http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/at-the-interface/diversity-recognition/diasporas/

For further details of the conference, please visit:

http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/at-the-interface/diversity-recognition/diasporas/call-for-papers/

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we
are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or
subsistence.

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ESF-LiU Conference on Historiography of Religion, 10-14 September 2012

Posted in Conferences, News/Information by santhyb on November 15, 2011

Programme:  The conference will focus on the question: How, under which conditions and with which consequences are religions historicized? The conference aims at furthering the study of religion as of historiography by analysing how religious groups (or their adversaries) employ historical narratives in the construction of their identities or how such groups are invented by later historiography (comparative  historiography). Thus the biases and elisions of current analytical and descriptive frames have to be analysed, too (history of  research). Combing disciplinary competences of Religious Studies and History of Religion, Confessional Theologies, History, History of Science, and Literary Studies, the participants will help to initiate a comparative historiography of religion by applying literary comparison and historical contextualization to those texts that have been used as central documents for histories of individual  religions and analyze their historiographic character, tools and strategies. Furthermore they will stimulate the history of historical  research on religion; that is, identifying key steps in the early modern and modern history of research. The comparative approach will address Circum-Mediterranean and European as well as Asian religious traditions from the first millennium BCE to present.
Date: 10-14 September 2012

Venue: Scandic Linköping Vast, Sweden

Format: – Lectures by invited high level speakers

– Poster sessions, round table and open discussion periods

– Forward look panel discussion about future developments10-14 September 2012

Chaired by: Jörg Rüpke, Max-Weber-Centre, University of Erfurt, DE

Co-Chaired by: Susanne Rau, Department of History, University of Erfurt, DE

Call for Applications: click HERE

To learn more about the conference, click HERE

Conference flyer  – Please circulate this announcement among your colleagues and contacts!


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Pakistan Workshop, 11-13th May 2012. Secularity, Globalisation and Power

Posted in Conferences, News/Information by Pippa on November 14, 2011

Both secularity and globalisation are understood to be phenomena that are intrinsically connected to rise of the post Enlightenment modern world. However, in order to understand the relationship between secularity, globalisation and power it is necessary for these themes to be contextualised in order to give them and the links between them, analytical meaning. In the case of Pakistan, a few of the “sub” concerns that emerge from this theme and need to be foregrounded to help frame contemporary Pakistan include:

1. The rise, spread – and perception – of international terrorism.
2. The increasingly interlinked and expansive information and communication systems. These are one of the hallmarks of the ostensibly globalised world and are an essential tool for the propagation of ideas. What does the recent increase in the regulation of the internet tell us about the Pakistani state? Do mobile phone texts and messages on blogs have the capacity to contribute to meaningful social change?
3. The rapid spread of the media in Pakistan. This is linked to debates on religious extremism and power not only because of what the media focuses on but because of the increased “craving” for news that arose in Pakistan post September 11th (Naqvi, 2010). What kind of popular “cravings” does the media respond to? Is it a force for progressive change in Pakistan or simply an inflammatory medium?
4. Changing demographics including an increase of women in the workplace
5. The growth of an urban middle class and consumer society
6. An evolving industrial base and the significant expansion in recent years of the service economy
7. The impact of the 3 Ts – low cost travel, telephone calls and satellite TV – on engagement with the Pakistani (professional) diaspora especially in Europe and North America
8. The internationalisation of Pakistani companies and the overseas interest in Pakistan as an emerging market
The deadline for abstracts is 10th February 2012, after which the organisers will make a selection and inform the participants of their decision. The finished papers would be required two weeks before the workshop, so they can be pre circulated to all participants.

For further information, contact pakistanworkshop@gmail.com or become a fan of the facebook group “Pakistan Workshop”. Further information is also available on the Pakistan Workshop website:
http://www.pakistanworkshop.org

Anushay Malik and Arif Zaman. Pakistan Workshop 2012 Organisers
Full details attached: Pakistan Workshop 2012-1

Raziuddin Aquil, ed. Sufism and Society in Medieval India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010

Posted in Book reviews by Pippa on November 14, 2011

Reviewed by Usha Sanyal (Queens University of Charlotte)

This is an interesting collection of essays on aspects of Sufism during the twelfth through eighteenth centuries by well-known scholars in the field, such as K. A. Nizami, J. M. S. Baljon, and Simon Digby, among others. All nine essays have been published previously. They are brought together here, along with an introductory essay by Raziuddin Aquil, the editor, as part of Oxford University Press’s Debates in Indian History and Society series. Thematically, many of the essays are concerned with the role of Sufis in the subcontinent in Islamization and conversion of Hindus to Islam, with the authors taking different stands on the issue. Subsidiary sets of issues relate to Sufis and their relation to the state and to possession of wealth and property, as well as relations between different Sufi orders and between Sufis and scholars of Islamic law (the ulama), language, and social class. One essay, by Richard M. Eaton, deals with the role of women’s songs in transmitting Sufi ideas to illiterate villagers in the seventeenth-century Deccan.

Aquil frames the primary concern of the book, namely, the roles that medieval Sufis played in the conversion of Hindus to Islam, in historiographic terms by focusing on the perspectives of the essay writers themselves. Broadly, Aquil sees three distinct scholarly positions: those whose “writings … emphasize the pluralistic character of Indian society and the commendable role of Sufis in providing a practical framework for communal harmony” (essays by Nizami, S. A. A. Rizvi, and Carl W. Ernst, in Aquil’s view, belong in this group); those who adopt “a more empirically sustainable approach even while remaining committed to the idea of secularism and such other virtues expected from historians in Indian academia” (in this group, he places the contributions by Eaton, Digby, and Muzaffar Alam); and those who take “a Muslim separatist position” (the only example in the volume is the piece by Aziz Ahmad) (p. x). On the one hand, Aquil expresses strong disagreement with Ahmad, writing that he “offers a somewhat cynical interpretation marred by his separatist outlook, which, in turn, was influenced by the post-Partition Muslim predicament in the Indian subcontinent” (p. xv). On the other hand, Aquil feels that Nizami, for example, is prone to making broad generalizations, characterizing the ulama as “conservative and reactionary theologians,… [leaving] the Sufis to rise to the occasion, releasing ‘syncretic forces which liquidated social, ideological, and linguistic barriers’ between Hindus and Muslims for building a ‘common cultural outlook.’” In contrast, Aquil clearly esteems the work of those he terms “empiricist,” describing the essay by Alam, for example, as a “balanced and empirically dense argument on the question of community relations” (p. xvi). Seen in this light, the essays not only offer different perspectives on the roles of Sufis in medieval India, but also illustrate different academic approaches, over the past fifty years, to that history.

Read full review: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=32240

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Jinnah re-visited, thank you Jaswant Singh by Beena Sarwar

Posted in News/Information by Pippa on November 6, 2011

Generations have grown up in India and Pakistan fed on distorted versions of history. Attempts to counter these versions don’t go down too well at home, as Jaswant Singh​ found out when he challenged the Indian version that lays the entire blame for the Partition on the shoulders of Mohammad Ali Jinnah​, ignoring the parts played by Jawaharlal Nehru​, the Congress and the British.

Ironically, while eulogising the country’s founder as the Quaid-e-Azam or Great Leader, Pakistan has also censored him, sweeping aside his guiding principles, secularism and insistence on justice and constitutionalism. Similarly, in India, Mahatma Gandhi​ is eulogised while his guiding principles and insistence on non-violence are made increasingly irrelevant.
Each side conveniently forgets the extremisms of its dominant faith. Hindu extremism existed well before 1947 (remember who killed Gandhi) as did Muslim extremism, particularly since 1857, when the British drove a wedge between the two religious communities. Both continue to feed off each other.

Official textbooks, policies or public discourse ignore the findings of scholars like Mubarik Ali, Ayesha Jalal​ and KK Aziz in Pakistan, and Romila Thapar​, KN Panikkar and Sumit Sarkar in India whose work is based on solid research and facts rather than emotive myths. There is no official support for a joint history project.

Read full article: http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2009/09/3225

Also see review of Jaswant Singh, Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence by Farina Mir on H-net. follow link: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=30415

The richness of the Ramayana, the poverty of a University – An interview with Romila Thapar in The Hindu

Posted in News/Information by Pippa on November 6, 2011

The controversial decision earlier this month by the Academic Council of Delhi University to drop A.K. Ramanujan’s celebrated essay on the Ramayana, Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translations from the B.A. History (Honours) course has evoked sharp protests from several historians and other scholars.

Coming three years after the Hindutva student body, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), vandalised DU’s History department to protest against the teaching of this essay, the decision has been criticised as a surrender of academic freedom in the face of political pressure.

Romila Thapar, the foremost authority on early Indian history, spoke to Priscilla Jebaraj about the decision, its adverse consequences for scholarship and knowledge, and the efforts by vested interests to project one version of Hindu cultural heritage and religious tradition over all others.

You have said that this issue is not purely about history and academia simply because it involves the Delhi University’s History Department and Academic Council, but that there’s a political background to it.

I think there’s a political background to it because the initial attack against this essay [in 2008] was led by the ABVP which made sure that TV cameras had begun to roll when they carried out the attack, so that it would be properly recorded.

Their demand was that this hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community and therefore it should be withdrawn. This is hardly an academic demand. And quite clearly, the way in which the activity was organised, it was an act of political opposition to the History department and to this particular essay.

The University initially took an academic position and appointed a committee of four historians to assess whether this essay should be withdrawn. Three experts categorically said that under no circumstances should it be withdrawn. One of them, interestingly, did not say that it hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community, but said that it was inappropriate for undergraduate teaching, that undergraduates would not follow the whole question of variants and nuances and so on. So the expert opinion again did not think it was necessary to withdraw the essay.

In spite of this expert opinion, and perhaps because the matter came up in court, it was taken to the Academic Council. And from what I can gather, there was no indication given that this issue would be discussed, and therefore people went there unprepared and suddenly had to decide on this one way or the other. And what this initial action and the reaction of the University raise are the question whether courses and syllabi can be changed by groups beating up faculty and vandalising departments. And I think this is a very fundamental question which academia has to face and answer and take a position on.

Read full article: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/article2574398.ece

Rababi Kirtan Performances by Bhai Ghulam Mohammed Chand- November 2011

Posted in Events, Music by santhyb on November 3, 2011
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1984 and the violence of memory

Posted in Articles, sikhs by santhyb on November 1, 2011

Opinion piece by Ravinder Kaur in The Hindu

More than a quarter century on, not much remains of ‘1984′ — shorthand for one of the largest pogroms in India’s postcolonial history when thousands of Sikhs were massacred in retribution for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination — in the public memory. The voices of victims and eyewitnesses one often heard in courtrooms have almost retired in exhaustion. The names of state-appointed serial commissions to establish the facts on ground have by now joined footnotes of history in a long line of ineffective judicial commissions of similar nature. And more remarkably, the miscarriage of justice through long-winded judicial processes where eyewitnesses routinely turn hostile due to threats, incentives, pressures exerted by fixers, or because of plain weariness has ceased evoking any mass outrage. In any case, the victims are supposed to have ‘got over’ the event and ‘moved on,’ precisely as enterprising and forward-looking communities are expected to do.

Read full article: 1984 and the violence of memory

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