News and Events
New Borderlands or Cosmopolitanism from below?
We are happy to announce our conference NEW BORDERLANDS OR COSMOPOLITANISM FROM BELOW? (NeBoCo) at Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany. From Thursday 6 to Saturday 8 December 2012 scientists from different countries and academic disciplines will discuss the specific dimensions of the ongoing deep transformation of statehood, citizenship, sovereignty and identity formations.
Please visit www.neboco.org to register for the conference until 15 November 2012.
Negotiating Ethnicity: Politics and Display of Cultural Identities in Northeast India
Place and dates of the conference: Vienna –1st week of July 2013 – 3 day conference
Submission deadline for abstracts: December 2012
Submission deadline for registration: February 2013
Submission deadline for papers: Papers submission deadline: two weeks before the conference. The papers will be circulated among participants before the conference.
Around 40 people, 20 from India (fees covered: travel fares and lodging for all speakers and discussants).
20 minutes to present each paper, and 15 minutes for each discussant to take questions.
Bianca Son, Jürgen Schöpf, Mélanie Vandenhelsken, Shahnaz Kimi Leblhuber: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for Papers
Collective identities and ethnicity are subject to changes in many parts of the world today as several scholars have highlighted. Through this conference, we wish to examine those changes, particularly the new forms and meaning given to ethnic identities, belonging, etc. in various parts of Northeast India, as well as to practices related to ethnicity and cultural identities. “Northeast India” is the political unit defined by the Indian Government as the ‘North Eastern Council,’ which now includes Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
We intend the conference to promote an interdisciplinary forum and invite proposals from scholars working in a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, history, sociology, economics, anthropology and cultural studies to submit research paper proposals. We invite cross-theoretical examinations of the recent transformations of cultural identities and ethnicity in relation to inter-ethnic and inter-state relations, borders, politics, agency, migration and diasporas, globalization, and tourism, etc.
The debate that started in the 1970s (mainly with Fredrik Barth’s, but with his numerous critics, as well) has enabled us to understand that the changes connected to ethnicity, culture, and collective identities, are not a result of the disappearance of culture, but a much more complex phenomenon. Since then, ethnicity and cultural identities have been much discussed in academic circles, and we propose to join this debate with studies and observations carried out on Northeast India, as a starting point for comparison to a wider area.
These changes related to ‘ethnicity’, ethnic identities, and ‘culture’, raise several questions.
*A first set of questions looks at how ‘transformations’ of ‘cultural identities’ can be analyzed:
Do new forms and meanings given to ‘culture’ link to politics and to the social spheres in Northeast of India, and how? What are the practices related to new forms given to ‘culture’ and ‘identities’ today in Northeast India? In particular, how are culture and identity related to the religious sphere and to rituals? The role of rituals and religion is of particular importance, and the processes of turning culture into an ‘object of cult’ need to be studied further, as well as the practice and performance of cultural production. Aside from these questions, what are the place and role of commodification in the changes of ‘ethnicity’ and ‘culture’? The claims for the existence of ‘primordial’ ties by the people, the connection they make between those ties and commodification of culture, etc. are also under our scrutiny.
* A second set of questions focuses on the relations between external forces and agencies that produce and shape new forms of ‘culture’ and ‘identities’.
What are the role of the politics related to collective identities and ethnicity? In this regard, the historical and formal relations between the Northeast and the Indian Central State are of great significance, particularly the reservation system, and more generally the ‘ethnic politics’. Additionally, the actual ethnic classifications and social grouping have been conditioned by history; the role of colonization in shaping representations of the Indian population as a whole, in the objectification of culture, is also of interest for this conference.
Some recent changes however, cannot be analysed as a one-way process merely involving the state. Groups’ particular histories and practices also need to be taken into account. Indeed, people are certainly not passive in the processes of changing the forms and the meaning of collective identities, and attention should be given to the ways they accompany, reinforce, use, contest, and divert, those changes. Power relations, hierarchy and gender also need to be taken into account.
* Role of globalization and trans-border networks
Are globalization and the state mutually exclusive, or can they be combined to produce “vernacular” or “glocalized” forms of power organization and collective identities? Finally, how do migrations, Diasporas, trans-border networks and solidarities, as well as tourism take place in this process of changing the meaning, the forms and practices related to ethnic and/or collective identities? How do these fields interact to reshape collective identities in Northeast India?