The Gulf-Kerala Literary Public

Mohamed Shafeeq Karinkurayil's picture
Call for Papers
July 3, 2020 to November 1, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Borderlands, Cultural History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Local History, South Asian History / Studies

The Gulf-Kerala Literary Public


Full length papers of 6000-7000 words are invited for a Special Issue to be published with a UK based Scopus-indexed peer-reviewed journal.

Guest Editors: Dr. E. Dawson Varughese and Dr. Mohamed Shafeeq Karinkurayil*


Concept Note:

Migration from the south Indian state of Kerala to the various states that now comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is now almost eight decades old; the sustained large scale migration of labour can be traced back to the labour crunch in the 1960s in the Arabian Gulf as part of the massive growth following the oil boom. Though there is an ever growing body of scholarly literature on the economic and social impact of Gulf migration on Kerala, the cultural impact of the migration remains an under-researched topic. The Special Issue attempts to draw attention to the transnational public sphere which has come into existence because of the circular migration between the Gulf and Kerala, rendering the quality of temporariness to both the places. By focusing on the literary public sphere we seek to draw attention to not only the works of literature which has migration as its theme or condition of existence, but also to explore the processes of production and movement of texts between the host and the sending economies, the avenues of circulation, and the rhetorical and material production of identities and tastes. Stressing on the material as much as on the textual, the issue aims to bring forth the role of markets, book fairs, guest appearances by authors, award ceremonies, libraries, reading groups, cultural organizations and their networks, etc. in creating a public sphere actively engaged in defining the Gulf-Kerala connection in cultural terms and identifying their own place in it. By insisting on the transnational aspect of the literary public sphere, we also call attention to the movement of literature across national boundaries, the graded economies and literary spheres that exist in both the sending and host publics and across them, and their effect on the form of the literary products, and the internally fissured nature of the literary publics and attendant power struggles.    


We invite papers dealing with, but not exclusive to, the following topics:

-          Gulf-Kerala fiction (English language medium or otherwise) as expressions of Gulf-Kerala migration including narratives of returnee experience.

-          Reception of Keralan fiction in the Gulf and the Gulf-Kerala publishing industry.

-          Issues of translation in relation to Gulf-Keralan fiction.

-          The role of book fairs in the Gulf and Gulf-Keralan fiction.

            -         The post-millennial years in relation to Gulf- Kerala fiction. 





Instructions for Submission and Timeline:

The papers should follow the Harvard reference style, used in the social sciences.

The papers should be submitted as MS Word files to edawsonvarughese[at], with cc to shafeeq.vly[at]

Subject Line: Submission to SI on Gulf-Kerala

Deadline: 01 November 2020.

Online publication: second half of 2021.

Issue in print: early 2022.


*Dr. E. Dawson Varughese Independent scholar UK and Senior Fellow at Manipal Centre for Humanities, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Karnataka, India.

Dr. Mohamed Shafeeq Karinkurayil Assistant Professor, Manipal Centre for Humanities, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Karnataka, India.