Punjab Research Group

cfp: Punjabi Diaspora Conference at Patiala, February 3-5, 2014

Posted in Conferences, Diaspora, News/Information by Pippa on January 2, 2014

The Punjabi University is holding a major three-day conference on the Punjabi Diaspora at its campus on February 3-5, 2014. Organised by the Punjabi Department, the main focus of the conference is an exploration of multiple connections of the Punjabi Diaspora to its land of origins, starting from the late nineteenth century to the present era.

While the new technology, especially internet has helped to make the relationship of global Diasporas and their lands of origins, lively, complex and more intense, the study of the multidimensional exchange between the Punjabi Diaspora and its homeland presents severe challenges and issues. In the case of overseas Sikhs, as several scholarly studies have underlined, there has been a close linkages from the late nineteenth century to the present; this became especially problematic in the 1980s after the traumatic events in the Indian Punjab. A fierce debate ensued on the issue of Sikh minority in India and continues to draw attention of a large part of the Sikh Diaspora – which constitutes a major section of Punjabis abroad. This immediately alerts us to the question: what about the Punjabi Hindus and other smaller sections of the Punjabi Diaspora, how they relate to the land of their origins; and what about Muslim Punjabis from West Punjab in Pakistan?

This is just one dimension of the set of questions that await thorough analysis by experts. We also know how the Punjabi Diaspora has enriched the Punjab economy [both in India and Pakistan], through remittances and contributed to social capital by several philanthropic projects.  The Punjabi Diaspora is also a major site of Punjabi creative literature –what are its salient features? How does the Punjabi Diaspora relate to host societies through its imagined word-maps? Then there is related question of Punjabi language –how does the Punjabi Diaspora maintain its home language and impart to its new generations?  How does it draw upon the land of origins in such an endeavour? Similar questions arise as far the reproduction issues of various religious traditions among the Punjabi Diaspora.

Thus, besides welcoming papers addressed to fundamental theoretical question of the idea of ‘homeland,’ among the Punjabi Diaspora, contributors are encouraged to explore multi-dimensional ways overseas Punjabi communities relate to the land of their origins; Papers on any aspect of such connections through economic, cultural, religious and political linkages are welcome as also exploration of the kind of debates among the Punjabi Diaspora through the media as it has undergone vast change from earlier newspapers exchanges to extensive discussions via websites and cyberspace.

Here is a summary of themes for papers:

A. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: Where is Home? Idea of Homeland and Problematic of Country

B. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: Creative Spaces and shared linkages through Literary Productions

C. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora:  The Economic Exchange: Philanthropy and Developmental issues

D. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: Political Linkages, Role and Tensions

E. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: The Gender Dimension

F. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: The Print Media and Radio

G. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: New Forms of communication and debates: Cyberspace and Websites

H. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: On Linguistic Exchanges: Erosion, Consolidation and Challenges

I. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: The Cultural Dimension

J. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: The Punjabi Family, Generational Conflict, Reproduction of Culture

K. Home and the Punjabi Diaspora: The Religious interconnections: The role of Pilgrimage and other forms of Exchange

The University will provide usual facilities for contributors, free board and lodging including travel assistance up to Patiala campus for all participants from other states of India, and in the case of foreign participants’ return fare for railway passage from New Delhi airport to Patiala.

Please contact with the title of your paper and an abstract by 15 January:

Prof. Lakhvir Singh, Convenor Seminar and Head, PunjabI Department, Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab, India

Email: punjabidiasporaconference@gmail.com; Phone: 00 91 -98728-60245

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