Monday, December 05, 2005

Upcoming Conference: Secularism in South Asian Literature

This year I am co-chairing the South Asian Literary Association's annual conference with Anuradha Dingwaney-Needham, of Oberlin College. The topic is "Secularism in South Asian Literature: Possibilities and Limits." I was invited to co-chair in large part because the topic directly coincides with my research interests. SALA picked the basic topic, and invited the two of us on board. Anuradha and I wrote up a call for papers, selected from among the many proposals that came in, raised funds to support the conference (thank you, Lehigh!), and produced the following schedule.

SALA is the main academic group for the study of South Asian literature in the U.S. It has been around for a decade, and has about 80 members. This year's conference will be held in Washington, DC, in parallel with the annual convention of the Modern Language Association. The tone of the conference tends to be somewhat informal compared to the MLA, and the emphasis is on young scholars. Quite a number of grad students (who might have a hard time getting their papers accepted by MLA) give talks at SALA.

If you're going to be in DC at the end of December and have an interest in attending, contact me via the email address on the sidebar to get some further information. Also contact me if you're interested in becoming a member of SALA more generally (membership is inexpensive, and comes, I believe, with subscrption to the organization's journal, the South Asian Review).

Below is the schedule for the conference. Any comments or questions are welcome; needless to say, I'm pretty proud of the diversity of topics and authors on our schedule!

Monday December 26

Session 1: 5:00-6:30

1A. Secularism and Fiction I

a. Saiyeda Khatun, Johnson and Wales University, “The Humanist Agenda in Shaukat Osman’s Janani.”
b. Rajender Kaur, Rhode Island College, “Beyond ‘Aitch(Indus)es and Em(uslims)’ to I-Thou: Interrogating Secularism in Mariam Karim’s My Little Boat and Gita Hariharan’s In Times of Siege.”
c. Nyla Khan, University of Nebraska at Kearney, “Nationalism vs. Universalism: Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines.”
d. John Hawley, Santa Clara University, “Tariq Ali’s Islam Quintet and the Role of the Secular in Islam.”

IB. Secularism in Bollywood and Contemporary ‘Art’ Cinema

a. Kerry Luck and Bonnie Zare, University of Wyoming, “Secular Isn’t Sexy: The Promotion of Pan-Hinduism in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.”
b. Prabhjot Parmar, University of Western Ontario, “Dharamputra and Gadar: Two Outposts of Secularism in Hindi Cinema.”
c. Blair Orfall, University of Oregon, “Secularism via the Hollywood/Bollywood Adaptation.”
d. Parvinder Mehta, Wayne State University, “Viewing the (Secular) Other: Interstitial Spaces and Liminal Hybridities in Mr. and Mrs. Iyer.”

Tuesday, December 27
9:00-10:30: Session 2

2A. Secularism and Fiction II

a. Cara Cilano, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, “The Fissures of Pakistan: Bangladesh as/and Secularity in Recent Pakistani Fiction.”
b. Kamal Verma, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, “Intersections of Marxism, Humanism, Secularism, and Indian Thought in ‘An Apology for Heroism.’”
c. Brewster E. Fitz, Oklahoma State University, “R.K. Narayan’s ‘The Gateman’s Gift’ and ‘Such Perfection’: Ironic Allegories of the Secular and the Religious in Cultural and Political Institutions.”

2B. Secularism and/from the Position of the Minority

a. Rochelle Almeida, New York University, “Secularism and Contemporary Art: M.F. Husain and his Mother Teresa Series.”
b. Revathi Krishnaswamy, San Jose State University, “Secularism and the Shifting Category of Caste.”
c. Robert McNamara, Loyola University of Chicago, “Racial Minorities and Secular Modernities.”
d. Anushiya Sivanarayanan, Southern Illinois University, “Hindutva and Tamil Literature.”

10:45-12:15 Session 3

3A Gender and Secularism: Alternative Politics

a. Rashmi Bhatnagar, Boise State University, “Meera’s Poetics as an Instance of Secularism in South Asia.”
b. Nandini Dhar, University of Oregon, “The ‘Sacred’ and the ‘Secular’: Gender and Resistance in Rashsundari Devi’s Amar Jiban.”
c. Kellie Holzer, University of Washington, “Producing the Grhalakshmi: Religious Nationalism and Colonial Modernity.”
d. Kanika Batra, Loyola University of Chicago, “Redefining Secularism: A People’s Theatre from New Delhi in Alliance with the Women’s Movement.”

3B. Postcolonial Secularism and Diaspora I

a. Summer Pervez, University of Ottawa, “‘Deleuzian Secularism in Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album.”
b. Prathim Anandan, Wolfson College, Oxford University, U.K, “REMIX! Negotiating Assimilation, Identity, Secularism and Otherness the Second Time Around: the Subculture of Desi Music.”
c. Moumin Quazi, Lamar University, “Teaching Diaspora Literature in a Non-Secular Setting.”

1:30-3:00: Session 4

4A Partition Violence and Contemporary Communalism

a. Karni Bhati, Furman University, “Woman, Quam, Nation in Qurratulain Hyder’s Fiction.”
b. Maya Sharma, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College/CUNY, “Losing a Village to Make a Nation in Shauna Singh Baldwin’s What the Body Remembers.”
c. Sangeeta Ray, University of Maryland, “Rage, Riots, and Religion: Witnessing Films and Films as Witness.”

4B. Postcolonial Secularism and Diaspora II

a. Hema Chari, California State University, “Believers/Skeptics/Fundamentalists, and the Limits of Secularism.”
b. Bed Giri, Dartmouth College, “Religious Absolutism and Secularist Polemic in Rushdie, Kureishi, and Smith.”
c. Manav Ratti, Linacre College, Oxford University, U.K, “Holy Trinities, Satanic Verses: the Postcolonial, the Postmodern, and the Post-Secular.”

3:30-4:30: Keynote Speaker: Suvir Kaul, Professor of English and South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania, “The Secular Imagination.”

Incidentally, I posted information on last year's conference here.


hk said...

Congratulations on the excellent choice of topics.

Will the proceedings be published? If yes, could you give more details on the same as they become available.

Or, (more ambitiously) are you planning a webcast? It might not be out of question since *you* are the co-chair!! :-)


Amelie-Freak said...

Excellent lineup and listing of topics. Wish I were done with my master's paper else I'd be contacting you! :)

Anonymous said...

Raje Kaur is an awesome person, I am so jealous you are going to this conference. I had her this past semester for Non-Western Literatures @ Rhode Island College. Enjoy!

Ryan Burns
Rhode Island College Student