News

22 September 2017

Network Publication: Special Issue on Dalit Literature in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature

We are very pleased to announce that all articles and the editorial of a special issue on Dalit literature in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature have appeared as online articles on the journal’s Online First site. The editorial can be accessed for free; the other pieces can only be accessed via institutional membership. This is the first special issue on Dalit literature in a major journal and all articles are based on papers and talks at the network events that we organised between 2014 and 2016. The journal is co-edited by Judith Misrahi-Barak, K. Satyanarayana and Nicole Thiara and we would like to thank all of the special issue’s contributors for their hard work.

Please help us publicise the special issue before its publication as a regular issue of the journal in 2019 by circulating this information widely.

List of Contents:
Nicole Thiara and Judith Misrahi-Barak
Editorial: Why Should We Read Dalit Literature?

K. Satyanarayana
The Political and Aesthetic Significance of Contemporary Dalit Literature

Laura Brueck
Narrating Dalit Womanhood and the Aesthetics of Autobiography

Shoma Sen
The Village and the City: Dalit Feminism in the Autobiographies of Baby Kamble and Urmila Pawar

Teresa Hubel
Tracking Obscenities: Dalit Women, Devadasis, and the Linguistically Sexual

Dolores Herrero:
Postmodernism and Politics in Meena Kandasamy’s The Gypsy Goddess

Malarvizhi Jayanth
Literary Criticism as a Critique of Caste: Ayothee Thass and the Tamil Buddhist Past

Judith Misrahi-Barak and Nicole Thiara
Interview with Director Jayan K. Cherian

Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy and Rowena Hill
Poet and Translator: A Dialogue between Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy and Rowena Hill 

 

26 July 2017

Dalit Studies conference at CSDS, Delhi on 22-24 January 2018:

Dalit studies: Human Dignity, Equality   and Democracy
The rise of Dalit studies has provided the necessary platform for a new set of scholarly enquiries in the social sciences and humanities. The Dalit Studies International conference (2008) was an attempt to bring together academics and intellectuals for a productive conversation on new research agendas. This initiative resulted in the publication of an edited volume Dalit Studies (2016). We plan to continue to explore caste inequality, human dignity, democracy and similar concerns  to further reflect on the possibilities and challenges of Dalit Studies in the proposed  conference.
Dalit Studies may be thought of as a new academic practice rooted in resistance to the dominant epistemologies. It has enabled academia to engage with the grounded knowledge creation by the Dalit communities. Innovative approaches have been devised to read the colonial and missionary archives and to analyse social memories, oral narratives, and cultural practices of the Dalit communities. Such novel research initiatives have resulted in a new set of studies that foreground Dalit subjects as active agents of social change and action.  As a location for the study of marginality,  Dalit Studies has enabled a sustained critical attention to the anti-caste social movements, religious traditions, literary and performative cultures and the everyday lives and practices of Dalit communities.  Another important aspect of Dalit studies is that it opened up the possibility of a global conversation on caste, race, and similar forms of inequality.
The last two decades have witnessed a serious engagement with Dalit struggles, experiences and perspectives. New histories of caste subalterns such as the new histories of Chamars in northern India or the slave castes of southern India particularly Kerala began to be explored. These studies have tried to develop substantial research questions that were either absent or only marginally dealt with in social science research in India. These studies offered new ways of reading slavery and untouchability by re-interpreting colonial and missionary archives. Given the limited historical records left by the Dalit people, the colonial and missionary records have proved valuable sources to recover the lives of the untouchables as human beings with a sense of their body and self. In contemporary India, the Dalit literary and cultural thought is constituted by a number of anthologies as well as analytical studies. The powerful Dalit narratives represented the subjective experience of caste oppression and everyday life. For example, the recent studies on Dalit literatures in Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi languages  have engaged with Dalit experience and aesthetics to demonstrate its valuable role in shaping a distinct Dalit identity. The explorations into the print and literary cultures have further revealed the gendered forms of caste and class domination. Caste is studied as sites of hegemony and power than simply reading it as an objective and homogeneous cultural system. Another set of studies documented and analyzed the significance of Dalit mobilizations, counter narratives of Dalit feminism, caste discrimination in labour market, inter-social group inequalities, subaltern religious movements and electoral success of Dalit parties. To sum up, questions of human dignity, citizenship, gender and caste inequalities, cultural identity, internal hierarchy of the lower castes, welfare, social justice, minority rights, political power and democratization are freshly posed and investigated in the field of Dalit Studies.
We propose to hold a three day international conference (22-24 January 2018) that would serve as a platform for intense and productive debates on the prospects of Dalit Studies. Given that the objective of this conference is to promote Dalit Studies and stimulate a constructive dialogue among scholars, we are keen to disseminate the new research through publications.  We intend to publish the conference proceedings.
We invite proposals from independent scholars, research students, and those working within and outside of formal academic institutions on any theme which would broadly fall under the rubric of Dalit Studies. A committee will select the abstracts and its decision is final.
The Conference organizers will provide economy class airfare and local hospitality to all participants from within India, and local hospitality to participants from abroad.
Coordinators:  

K. Satyanarayana, P. Sanal Mohan (Dalit Studies Collective)
 Aditya Nigam, Prathama Banerjee (CSDS)

Deadline for paper proposals:  September 15, 2017
Applications should include: (1) a two-page description of the research to be presented at the conference and its place within your larger work and goals (2) a two-page C.V.
Deadline for full papers:  December 10, 2017
Please email your proposals to dalitstudies2018@gmail.com

 

3 March 2017

We are very pleased to announce that Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy will launch his book of poetry Before It Rains Again at the British Library in Bengaluru on 10 March at 6pm. The event is hosted by the British Council and the trust Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy Academy of Buddhist Sciences and also inaugurates the trust.

There will be a live webcast of the book launch event available at https://livestream.com/enarada/mudnakudu. See YouTube.

Judith and I have known Mudnakudy Chinnaswamy since he read his poetry in Kannada at our network’s conference on Dalit literature and translation at UEA in 2015 where Rowena Hill read the English versions of his poems that she had translated. This was one of the most memorable moments of this conference with many highlights. We were also lucky that Chinnaswamy read his poetry again in Nottingham both at Nottingham Trent University and at the public venue The Wire café in May 2016. These encounters introduced Chinnaswamy to the Liverpool-based publisher Erbacce Press, which published this wonderful collection of poetry. In order to purchase a copy, please go to: http://erbacce-press.webeden.co.uk/#/mudnakudu-chinnaswamy/4593563933. Negotiations with an Indian distributor are on their way.

This is the first publication which emerged from the events organised by our network and is a great example of the way in which it brings people together and we hope that you will support it.

See a review in The Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-fridayreview/sensitive-translation-of-dalit-experience/article19131196.ece

6 February 2017

As part of the Postcolonial Speakers Series of Nottingham Trent University’s Postcolonial Studies Centre, we present Gopika Jadeja, PhD candidate, National University of Singapore and King’s College, London:

You keep the cow’s tail: The Dalit Movement and Dalit Poetry in Gujarat

Around the world today governments and regimes are creating what Gyan Pandey calls a ‘monolingual order’, which does not recognise any other idea of nation and sovereignty except the one it ascribes to. This alienates and denies participation in the nation to marginalised communities excluding them from cultural citizenship leading to contestations of identity within the nation. I examine this through a study of the literary sphere in the western Indian state of Gujarat. I suggest that interactions in the literary sphere reveal, and become a site for, contestations of identity and of idea of the nation.

I present dalit literature in Gujarat as a challenge to the creation of monolithic and exclusive Gujarati asmita (identity and pride) suggesting a plurality of identities and what it means to be ‘Gujarati’. I achieve this by tracing the historical trajectory of modern Gujarati literature as a backdrop in literary and social history against which Dalit poetry in Gujarat emerged, while focusing also on the dalit movement in Gujarat.

Besides poetic texts and archival material from the dalit movement, I draw from the slogans (eg. ‘You keep the cow’s tail, give us our land’) and speeches from recent dalit protests in Gujarat. Combining literary analysis and historiography with the study of a socio-political movement, I bring to the fore an alternative literary history that plays a role in the assertion of a plurality of identities challenging the monolingual order of the region and by extension the nation, in particular the nation of ‘Hindutva’.

Wednesday 8th February 2017, 1-2pm, MAE101, Clifton Campus, Nottingham Trent University, UK.

7 November 2016

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016

Voices of Resistance: Caste, Exclusion and Race
(Benzie Building, Manchester School of Art, 9 November 2016 at 4pm)
 
You are warmly invited to this FREE event as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016
hosted by Dr Annapurna Waughray (Manchester Met) and the University of Manchester
 
Keynote: Professor David Mosse (Professor of Social Anthropology, University of London)
 
Guest speakers and panellists:
Jai Anbu, Dalit author reading from his novel Betel Leaves  
Revd. Raj Bharat Patta (Honorary Chaplain at St. Peter’s Church and Chaplaincy and PhD candidate in Dalit Liberation Theology at University of Manchester)
Dr Sushrut Jadhav, Senior Lecturer in Cross-cultural Psychiatry at University College London and Consultant Psychiatrist, Camden Homeless Outreach Services & Islington Mental Health Rehabilitation Services.
Dr Nicole Thiara, Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University specialising in postcolonial literature and organiser of the AHRC-funded research network: ‘Writing, Analysing, Translating Dalit Literature’.
Burjor Avari, Honorary Research fellow in the Department of History at Manchester Metropolitan University.
 
The event will highlight and explore diverse responses to caste discrimination by drawing on different perspectives from law, religion, literature and community activism. It places caste within the broader context of how attitudes towards migrant groups and communities have changed over time and how racism, discrimination and exclusion have been expressed and resisted. We hope to attract a broad audience and to provide a space for people who are interested in listening to and discussing a range of different perspectives.
In particular, we hope that young people will attend and contribute their views on this important issue
 
For further information on guest speakers and to book a place please follow the link below:
 
 
To find out more about the ESRC Festival and a full listing of events please visit:
 

22 September 2016

BASAS Annual Conference 2017: Call for Papers

19 – 21 April 2017, University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University

The British Association of South Asian Studies (BASAS) will hold its annual conference from 1:30 pm Wednesday, 19 April, to 12:30 pm Friday, 21 April 2017, at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. The conference is hosted by Nottingham University’s Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies (IAPS) and Nottingham Trent University’s Postcolonial Studies Centre. The keynote speaker is Urvashi Butalia, sponsored by IAPS.

We are now accepting panel and paper submissions for the 2017 conference. This year there is no specific theme for the conference – we invite proposals for both panels and independent papers from all humanities, arts, and social science disciplines, covering research on the breadth of South Asia and its diaspora. As always we welcome bold, innovative, and interdisciplinary approaches.

Submission Guidelines:

Please submit your panel and paper proposals to the conference organisers at basas2017@nottingham.ac.uk by the dates shown below.

Panel proposals (150-200 word abstract). Panels will last for 90 minutes, and it is advisable that proposals allow sufficient time for the presentation of papers as well as discussion. 

Independent papers (100-150 word abstract).

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 30 November 2016

Please provide full contact details (mailing and emailing addresses) for your paper and/or for each member of your panel.

Note on panel proposals: Panel proposals are to be accompanied by individual paper abstracts for each of the proposed panel members (100-150 words). The panel organiser(s) should also arrange for a chair (who can be a panellist).

Please note: Incomplete panel proposals will not be accepted. Panel organisers are expected to have confirmed speakers and chair prior to submitting. The conference organisers may seek to add additional individual papers to accepted papers, in discussion with panel organisers.

Funding: There will be a limited number of bursaries to the value of £50 available to students and unwaged participants. Those who wish to be considered for these bursaries should include a covering note in support of their request, detailing any additional institutional support for conference participation for which they may be eligible. This must be submitted by the deadline of 30 November 2016.

Registration will open in January 2017.

Registration deadline: 15 March 2017

Registration fee (up to 15 March 2017): £150 waged (teaching and research staff on salaries); £90 unwaged (students, unemployed, pensioners, academics on hourly paid or sessional contracts). Please note that the delegate rate includes a conference dinner on 20 April, one lunch (on 20 April), a drinks reception, and tea and coffee between sessions.

Advanced registration is strongly encouraged to ensure a place at the conference. Late registrations, after the 15 March deadline, will attract an additional charge, and places may not be guaranteed.

You must be a BASAS member in order to register for the conference. To become a member, visit the BASAS website.

BASAS paper prize for graduate students: An award of £250 will be made for the best paper presented at the Annual Conference.  Entries should be no longer than 7000 words and submitted no later than 15 March 2017 to the conference organisers at basas2017@nottingham.ac.uk.  A panel of judges comprising the conference organisers and council members will make the final decision based on the paper and the presentation.  The winning paper may be considered for publication in one of BASAS’s associated journals, Contemporary South Asia or South Asian Studies.

Visas: Delegates requiring visas must register to attend the conference before a visa letter can be issued from the conference organisers.  If you require a visa please contact basas2017@nottingham.ac.uk including a copy of your registration receipt, which should feature your name and address.  Please also note your Nationality and your Passport Number.  A personalised PDF Visa letter will be emailed to you promptly.

Conference organisers: 

Professor Katharine Adeney, Dr Onni Gust, Dr Kathryn Lum, Dr Diego Maiorano, Dr Humaira Saeed, Dr Nicole Thiara

Contact e-mail:  basas2017@nottingham.ac.uk 

20 September 2016

The great Dalit Leader and Writer Bojja Tharakam sadly passed away: http://roundtableindia.co.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8783:bojja-tharakam-1939-2016-i-think-of-myself-as-both-an-ambedkarite-and-a-marxist&catid=119:feature&Itemid=132.

12 July 2016

We would like to announce the launch of our network’s YouTube channel DALIT VOICE AND VISION.

This channel was initially set up to cover the events, conferences and activities of the network. In the future, we aim to focus on recording interviews, digital autobiographies and performances by Dalit writers, artists and people with a story to tell. So, this channel will establish a new branch of the network.

The Executive Board consists of Dr Nicole Thiara, lecturer in English at Nottingham Trent University, UK, and Dr Judith Misrahi-Barak, Associate Professor in English at Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, France.  Production Co-ordinator and Chief Editor is Prof. Vinod Verma, University of Delhi, India. The editor for Europe is the independent editor Zacharie Barak.

Without the input, creativity and hard work of Prof. Vinod Verma, this channel would not exist. So we would like to thank Vinod and also our editor in Europe, Zacharie.

If you would like to get involved or suggest material for uploading, please contact Nicole (Nicole.Thiara@ntu.ac.uk) and Vinod (vinodkvverma@yahoo.com).

Please note that not all sessions at the conferences were recorded and not all recordings were of a technical standard that made them suitable for uploading. We apologise to those whose sessions were not recorded.

Please register on the Youtube channel to be kept updated of any new video that will be posted.

14 June 2016

Lakshmi Holmstrӧm passed away on 6 May 2016 and we would like to express our deep sadness and extend our condolences to her family and friends. Lakshmi translated poetry and prose, mainly from Tamil into English, and her excellent translations of Bama’s work have been of huge significance in the field of Dalit literary studies. She spoke at the first conference the network organised at Nottingham Trent University in June 2014 and had been a great supporter of the network from the beginning. In many ways, she was greatly influential in helping to conceive of the network and as a colleague and friend she will be terribly missed.

10 May 2016

We have now started a publications page as part of this website, which lists relevant publications to the study of Dalit literature. The publications and films listed here have been kindly compiled by Judith Misrahi-Barak originally. If you would like us to add further titles and films, please send us the references following the referencing system used on the webpage.

 The renowned Kannada writer and poet Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy was invited by the network to read from his poetry in Nottingham on 12 May 2016 at Wired, 42 Pelham St, Nottingham NG1 2EG. He will also work with students and members of staff at Nottingham Trent University for two weeks. Please contact us, if you would like to get in touch with him during that period.

31 March 2016

We are launching this website dedicated to the study of Dalit literature at a time when the violence against Dalit students, academic staff and activists is highly visible in the international media.This research network seeks to provide a platform for researchers of Dalit literature within and outside of academia and strengthen links between Dalit writers and their publishers with their international audiences. If you would like to get involved, please contact Nicole Thiara and Judith Misrahi-Barak.

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