British Association for South Asian Studies

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Event Pakistan Seminar

Despite the millennia old roots of its lands, its large population of over two hundred million, strategic location at the cusp of South, Central and West Asia, the study of Pakistan is still underdeveloped and remains mired with several problems. First, the study of Pakistan suffers from a singular focus on its military and, in the last couple of decades, its extremism and terrorism issues. While these topics are certainly important, the bulk of research on these themes fails to appreciate other elements of the Pakistan polity which complicate and nuance this narrative. Secondly, the existence of a larger neighbour—India, overshadows the study of Pakistan—as well as other south Asian countries, whenever a ‘South Asia’ framework is used. Thirdly, the social sciences have very recently remerged as a major scholarly endeavour in Pakistan and so scholarship on the country is still at a developing stage.
This ‘Pakistan Seminar’ aims to reshape the discourse on Pakistan by bringing together senior scholars, early career researchers, and advanced PhD/MPhil students for a day of intensive dialogue and discussion. The Seminar aims to achieve several aims: first, it hopes to provide an opportunity for senior and junior scholars to interact and learn from each other. The availability of critical peer review is a central objective of the seminar. Secondly, the seminar will be a place for cross-disciplinary conversations on Pakistan. The primary focus on Pakistan as a security state can only be reshaped through interdisciplinary approaches and discussion. Thirdly, this Seminar will provide a space for a further germination of new research on Pakistan through networking and research links. There are several areas of research which still remain understudied or even unexplored, and so this Seminar provides a platform for the presentation of new, cutting edge and innovative research.
The Pakistan Seminar therefore encourages submissions from all fields of the social sciences and humanities which focus on Pakistan or on the lands now forming Pakistan. Especially encouraged are papers which deal with issues which are under researched in the field and which are interdisciplinary in nature.

Confirmed speakers include a keynote by Professor Faisal Devji (Oxford), and papers by Professor Tariq Rahman (BNU Lahore), Professor Yunas Samad (Bradford/LUMS), and several other Pakistan specialists.

Application Process
We would especially welcome papers from early career researchers and advanced PhD/MPhil students who would benefit the most from such a seminar.

To apply to present a paper, please send a 200-word abstract together with a short cv/bio to: with the title of the seminar in the subject line, by July 19, 2019. The seminar committee will assess the abstracts and reply within two days.

Registration for the conference is 15 pounds, which includes lunch and tea.
Registration is to be done online with payment paid through online transfer/cheque before the seminar.

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CfP: Relocating Governance

Conference dates: 22-24 January 2020

CfP Submission Deadline: 15th August 2019

From its early narrow focus upon the state, the study of governance in modern Asian societies has increasingly expanded to include non-state actors, networks and institutions. Colonial historians, for instance, have drawn attention to the continued importance of precolonial power brokers under European dispensations, as well as the merchants, mercenaries and local informants who helped sustain these. Likewise the authority of postcolonial nation states has been, and continues to be, mediated by the actions of a wide array of actors within civil society, from religious leaders, to media outlets and various NGOs. Together with formal states, these actors have helped shape Asian cultures of governance.

Focusing upon the interactions between state and non-state actors in colonial and postcolonial societies, this conference seeks to explore the modern history of governance in South- and South East Asia. For information regarding abstracts, deadlines and specific subjects see here.

Keynote Speakers:
Indrani Chatterjee, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Cribb, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University
Farish Ahmad-Noor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

For all other enquiries, please contact Maarten Manse, Girija Joshi or Sander Tetteroo at

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Queer Elsewheres

Symposium Date: October 17th, 48th Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, WI

Call for Papers: Due May 15th

Queer Elsewheres: A Symposium on South Asian Imaginaries

What can we bring to queer epistemologies and methodologies when we move across physical, geopolitical and conceptual boundaries? In this symposium, we would like to draw attention to the journeys of queer, trans, hijra, khwaja sira, thirunangai, and gender nonconforming subjects and scholars to and from less-frequented settings in and around South Asia––with particular attention to places like Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka––which in their marginality are rendered as “elsewhere” in queer scholarship.

Centering performative and narrative modes of reflexivity in the literary, visual and performing arts, we explore what meanings adhere to queerness in its travels, and what happens when it takes on life in underrepresented or under-considered historical, geopolitical, conceptual and cultural locations (Amin 2017:183). We ask: What does it mean to respond from a “here” to queer discourses and practices “elsewhere”? What possibilities emerge when we engage fields and temporalities that count as not-here/not-yet-here, and what are the sensorial and affective dimensions, ethical issues and methodological limits of such travels? What makes up “queer” in a particular place and time? And, in particular, how might we disrupt Queer Studies’ analytical habits––or recontour the term itself––as we vision, revision, and generate scholarships from unlikely, imaginal, or even otherworldly elsewheres? Heeding the call for non-Euro-American epistemes to address the political intersections of queer and area studies (Arondekar and Patel 2016), we further consider the role that our respective fields of academic and artistic practices play in mapping the institutional terrain of queer epistemic power.

This symposium aims to bring together scholars of different academic and artistic disciplines to illuminate the ways in which conceptual, theoretical, physical and embodied manifestations of space and place intersect with gender, sexuality, race, religion, and other axes of identity in South Asia. Foregrounding performative and narrative modes of reflexivity, scholars and artists will illuminate the ways in which space and place sustain and resist specific relationships, studies and engagements in the field and in academic institutionality. We intend to use the symposium as an opportunity to generate responsive and dialogic critiques through a range of formats, including panels, performances, roundtable discussions, video installations, exhibitions, and informal conversations in a safe, supportive, LGBTQIA+ affirmative environment. This Queer Symposium follows the release of a Special Forum published in the Fall 2018 issue of QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, which features a diverse collection of essays from a multigenerational contingent of participants of previous Queer Symposia (formerly Pre-conferences) held in 2016 and 2017 at the Annual Conference on South Asia. We intend for this year’s Queer Symposium to be just as fruitful, bringing another opportunity for us to assemble contemporary thought and work in and around places that are less frequented yet nonetheless critical to queer South Asian scholarship.

Performances, lecture-demonstrations, art works, films and papers should be critical in their orientation, and may delve theoretically into the fields and politics of gender, sexuality, race, class/caste, religion, language, social change, nationalism, globalization, international policy, performance, education, and other areas. Proposals that engage with the symposium’s thematic focus on "queer elsewheres" will receive the highest priority. Developed works as well as works in progress are strongly encouraged, as are budding thoughts or questions in the areas listed above. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to the Queer Symposium Team ( by May 15th. Please include "Queer Symposium 2019 submission" in the subject line. Late submissions will not be considered. Decisions will be made and sent out approximately two weeks after the due date.

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Across Colonial Lines

18 September 2019, University of Leeds, UK

Deadline for Abstract Submission: 10 June 2019

The University of Leeds are pleased to invite abstracts to Across Colonial Lines: Empires, Commodities and Movements, to be held at the University of Leeds on 18th September 2019.


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