CfP: Inhabiting the Past in Twentieth-Century South Asia - Workshop at the University of Chicago

Faridah  Zaman 's picture
Call for Papers
November 4, 2016
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Intellectual History, Political History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, South Asian History / Studies


This one-day workshop at the University of Chicago, to be held on Friday 4 November 2016, aims to bring together a range of scholars to discuss issues broadly relating to historical appropriations, memory and oral traditions, competing methods of history-writing, the construction of intellectual lineagues, and the making of "useable pasts” for purposes that are political or otherwise in twentieth-century South Asia. The question of historical appropriations and misappropriations is ever-timely in India, but the organizers would like to stimulate a discussion particularly around the ways that non-state actors negotiate and pluralize the past for diverse reasons. 

Methodologically, the focus of discussion will be on two interrelated problems: the first, how to critically think about the transmission of ideas and histories in a South Asian context. If we see text as central to our evidential methodology, how do we orient ourselves towards versions of the past that draw on oral or remembered tradition? The second, how to think of our own position as scholars working on understanding these (re)constructed pasts in a way that is both rigorous and sensitive to their worldviews and motivations?

The co-organizers of this workshop are looking to assemble papers from a range disciplinary backgrounds, including but not limited to history, religious studies, South Asian studies, history of art, literature, and anthropology. We invite scholars at all career stages to apply. Accepted papers will be organized into panels of 2 of 3 speakers, moderated by a Faculty member at the University of Chicago. 2 nights of accommodation will be provided but we regret that we are unlikely to be able to meet any travel costs.

To apply, please send abstracts of 300-400 words and a brief academic CV to by 16 September 2016. We will get back to you as soon as possible thereafter. 

Contact Info: 

Co-organizers: Dr Faridah Zaman (History) and Daniel Morgan (SALC)