British Association for South Asian Studies

News & Events

CfP: Re-centring the 'Pariah'

Re-centring the 'Pariah': Caste, Tribe and Criminality in South Asia

University of Leeds, 26-27 June 2017

CfP: 13 Feb 2017

The ‘pariah’ has traditionally been considered a peripheral figure in South Asia. Initially employed as a derogatory term for Dalit communities in South India, the word gained currency within colonial administration to refer to other ostracized groups like the former criminal tribes or Adivasis. Yet scholarship has tended to examine the dynamics of such communities within distinct paradigms: Dalits and the village/democratic politics; Adivasis and resistance/development; criminal tribes and colonial penology/governmentality. This has obscured the transient, contingent and porous nature of pariah identities, and worked to reinforce the boundaries between categories of caste and tribe.

India’s ’Denotified and Nomadic Tribes’ (former criminal tribes), for instance, have been viewed as marginal to both mainstream politics and Dalit and Adivasi movements of the last three decades. But with a contemporary population of around 60 million, study of these communities sheds new light on the nature and limits of citizenship, the relationship between gender, criminality and law, and methods of mobilization and political resistance. Moreover, their incoherent classification within the framework of Scheduled Caste/Schedule Tribe invites fresh interrogation of colonial and postcolonial categories and identity politics in South Asia.

This two-day workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to reconsider the interconnected histories of caste, tribe and criminal pariahs across the colonial and postcolonial period. With a particular (although not exclusive) focus on criminal/denotified tribes, it aims to highlight how such oft-considered peripheral groups are central to our understanding of colonial expansion and statecraft, processes of decolonization and democracy, and debates on citizenship and rights. Through such analysis, it seeks to re-centre their histories not only within these crucial themes of South Asian studies but in more direct dialogue with each other.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words and a short CV by 13 February 2017 to

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Job: McGill Visiting Assistant Professor

Review of applications opens: 1 Feb 2017

Trinity College’s International Studies Program invites applicants for the Patricia C. and Charles H. McGill III ‘63 Visiting Assistant Professor of International Studies for academic year 2017-2018. This fellowship is a one-year appointment for a recent Ph. D. (within the past five years) who has either received a bachelor’s degree from a non-North American university or else has lived for a substantial period outside the United States. The International Studies Program brings together faculty from a diverse array of departments and programs and offers six interdisciplinary undergraduate majors: Global Studies, African Studies, Asian Studies, Caribbean and Latin American Studies, Middle East Studies, and Russian and Eurasian Studies. The successful candidate will be expected to teach three classes over the course of the year and deliver a research lecture in the spring semester.

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Job: Digital Humanities Asia Postdoctoral Fellowship

Deadline: 17 February 2017

The Digital Humanities Asia (DHAsia) program at Stanford University invites applications for a 12-month Postdoctoral position during the 2017-2018 academic year. This position is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar program, with further support provided by Stanford University. The successful applicant is expected to begin on or by October 1, 2017.

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CfP: Space and Sovereignty in South Asia

Space and Sovereignty in South Asia

Princeton South Asia Conference, 21-22 April 2017

CfP Deadline: 5 January 2017

The urgency of a global refugee crisis, ever increasing rates of migration, transnational efforts towards development projects, and the flow of informational, intellectual, and financial capital all raise questions of power and governance as exercised within and across state boundaries. Within the scholarship on South Asia, this has generated an array of questions - from those about political belonging and self-determination, to critiques of urban development and “good” governance; from discussions about mobilities of people, commodities, and ideas, to literary, technological, and artistic productions that engage with territoriality. Using these themes as a starting point, our conference explores relationships between space and sovereignty.

We encourage participants to explore how sources of authority are contested, negotiated, and reimagined across different spaces. In doing so we welcome approaches that look at the role of the state not only as a rational bureaucratic mechanism, but also in terms of effects and everyday practices.

Proposals should include a title, a 250 word abstract, institutional affiliation, and contact information. Please submit proposals at by January 5, 2017.

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BASAS Campaign

On 11th July, 2013, we launched our BASAS Campaign. We announced our intention to establish an endowment fund, and we pledged to use our expertise to ensure BASAS continues to support workshops, language training grants, and other initiatives to sustain the study and research of the countries and people of South Asia.

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