Call for Papers: Australia–South Asia: Contestations and Remonstrances (University of Liège, 26-28 January 2017)

This literary and cultural studies conference, to be held at the University of Liège under the auspices of the European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA) and the local post-colonial studies centre CEREP, will seek to draw attention to the multifarious encounters which have occurred between South Asia and Australia from the nineteenth century to modern times. We are particularly interested in papers that tackle aspects of the epistemological differend that may have informed these encounters and their various manifestations, as well as the possibly unsettling impact which specific South Asian perspectives may have had, or still have, on the delineation of an alternative historical narrative for Australia, also in terms of the narrativisation of Aboriginal oppression since European settlement.

We are proud to announce that the distinguished novelist Chandani Lokuge has confirmed her participation as a plenary guest speaker.

Possible questions pertaining to the conference theme that participants may wish to consider could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What are the tensions, discontents and challenges, both old and new, that characterize the relationship between the two regions?
  • How do cultural texts (including literature, film, music, and sporting practices, among other discourses or activities) grapple with the changing relationship between South Asia and Australia in the context of global capitalism?
  • How do cultural texts imagine (or reimagine) the historicity of the ties between the two regions as well as their future?
  • In what ways have Australian and South Asian (mis)readings of each other been encouraged (or, conversely, mitigated) by a common (or not so common) experience of imperialism?
  • How have specific instances of oppression and resistance been contextualized and represented, possibly with reference to Aboriginal histories?
  • How are South Asia and its citizens currently represented by Australia’s white settler culture, notably in today’s contexts of large-scale immigration and the so-called refugee crisis?
  • What are the linguistic dilemmas or difficulties besetting South Asian–Australian cultural intersections, as represented in diasporic and/or in white settler corpuses?

We welcome abstracts for 20-minute papers on literature, film, popular culture, Aboriginal studies and sociology as well as other related fields of inquiry. Note that, while the ‘South Asian’ region is usually limited (as by the Encyclopedia Britannica) to ‘the Indo-Gangetic plain, peninsular India, and Sri Lanka’, abstracts relating to South East Asia will also be expected.

Please email abstracts of no more than 300 words and a 100-word bio-note to the following conference email address – easaliegeconference2017@ulg.ac.be – by 15 April 2016. Notification of acceptance/rejection of abstracts will be sent by 1 June 2016.

All accepted participants will be expected to become members of EASA. Details of EASA membership are available on the association’s website at this address: http://www.easa-australianstudies.net/

The conference registration fee is EUR 80,00 (and EUR 40,00 for postgraduate students). Postgraduate participation is encouraged and a competition for the best postgraduate paper will be organized. Delegates will be invited to register separately for an optional conference dinner and/or a cultural group outing (to be determined).

Selections of the conference papers will be published as a special issue of EASA’s in-house peer-reviewed international journal JEASA or as a volume of essays to be released by the academic press of the University of Liège.

Please check the conference webpage at https://easaliegeconference2017.wordpress.com/ for regular updates about the event.

The Convenors: Maryam Mirza

Marc Delrez

Marie Herbillon

Valérie-Anne Belleflamme