Call for Papers: Questioning South Asia Conference, Habib University, Karachi

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Call for Papers
November 22, 2017 to November 24, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Research and Methodology, Social Sciences, South Asian History / Studies, Humanities

Conference Website:
Abstract Submission Deadline: June 15, 2017

Habib University invites paper and panel submissions for the Questioning South Asia Conference in November 2017.

CALL FOR PAPERS:  The geopolitical significance of South Asia has been a well-known fact in policy and security studies for the last several decades. In academic circles too, the logic of South Asia has become a naturalized reality: its appearance in the area studies departments of many US/western institutions signals acquiescence if not participation in an agenda informed by pursuit of global hegemony. The naturalisation of South Asia as a discourse recalls European precedents of producing knowledge about the ‘other’ in order to foster a morally and epistemologically superior European identity – as witnessed in the historical invention of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
How can the politically-charged and contested category of South Asia stay intact amid geological shifts and political restructuring underway globally? In the light of Brexit and the rise of populist right-wing movements across the world, signalling an end to a post-world-war-II global world order, it becomes urgently important to rethink some of the inherited epistemological and disciplinary categories with which, without reflecting on the ideological baggage they carry, we continue to operate. 
In these times of radical shifts in historical conditions, it becomes important to reconsider frameworks of knowledge determined by the ideologies of nation-states. This call for papers seeks contributions from scholars willing to think beyond the construct of South Asia as a territorially bound space with discrete nations. We invite papers from scholars who seek to identify the historical modalities of the emergence of South Asia as an analytical construct, and shed light on how it continues to operate as a geographical, cultural, and economic category. Questioning South Asia as a discourse that at present burdens the scholarly imagination, and overdetermines conference agendas and research funding, might reconfigure the strategies we employ to understand the region. Some of the questions we seek to investigate are: What are the obstacles to developing comparative research perspectives for scholars constrained by ‘South Asia’? How can we shift away from the dominant framework of South Asia as an already-determined category, and devise new research agendas? And what demands for change, transformation, or recalibration might this place on us as subjects undertaking research?
Papers may address but need not be limited to the following themes:

  • Pedagogical practices and frameworks, historical or contemporary
  • The relationship between research and funding opportunities
  • Comparative tools, methodologies, epistemologies and topics
  • The changing nature of development discourse
  • Transnational networks of mobility
  • Class as a cross-national analytic
  • Research on the more ephemeral arts—performance traditions (dance, theatre, storytelling, poetry recitation)
  • Film, broadcast media and print media

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION FORM AND GUIDELINES: Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words for individual papers or 350 words for panels and a CV with contact information through the conference website. Abstract submission deadline: 15 June 2017.

ABOUT HABIB UNIVERSITY: Habib University is a new liberal arts institution in Karachi, Pakistan that seeks to transform higher education through innovative programs, interdisciplinary study and collaborative learning. Habib University commenced academic operations in 2014 as a first-of-its-kind Pakistani institution offering a rigorous curriculum delivered by internationally qualified faculty and enriched through dynamic global collaborations, robust academic support systems and engaging public programs. The University aims to educate creative, critically-conscious graduates who will have a positive impact on society through programs designed to address the complex developmental, economic, and cultural challenges of Pakistan and the region. Please visit our website for more information. 
Dr. Fahd Ali,
Chair, Questioning South Asia Conference
Program Director, Social Development & Policy
Habib University, Karachi

Contact Info: 

For conference details and deadlines, please refer to the conference webpage or contact us at

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