Friday, September 15, 2017

National seminar on “Politics of Difference and (Re)locating Marginality : Reflections in Indian Literature” by Visva-Bharati (A Central University), Santiniketan 9th -11th November, 2017

Concept Note:
Marginality, a major concern in socio-cultural, economic and political spheres, is the focus of this seminar. In a gross sense, the person, who is cornered to the edge of the society and finds himself deprived, depressed and subordinated in his individual as well social life is determined as marginalized. Behind this inequality the politics of difference plays the lead role, which has a multi-faced approach. From the skin colour to gender – a lot of factors stand behind the subaltern capping, which forces some particular groups of people to be devoid of the fundamental rights that they actually deserve. Though there are some common reasons for such discrimination, yet the characters of the politics of difference are divergent according to places and space. In India, the primary roots of marginality lie in religion, caste, and class hierarchies, while lingual hierarchies are determined by the social location of different speech communities. And again, gender bias or the subaltern position of woman in every class of society is a very common face of social discrimination. 

Contrary to the politics of difference, the endeavour to relocate the marginalized people in the main flow of the society is the consequence of the voices raised for equality. Indian Literature witnesses the conflicts between equality and inequality. The Dalit literature certainly has the agency to speak of their own sufferings and identity, but the main stream literature, may be in some different way, also illustrates the scenario. Literature, written in different regional as well vernacular languages of modern era are the main sources of this discourse, as the issue of marginality has come more in the focus since 19th century. Simultaneously, the literature of ancient and medieval India is the other obvious source. While the Brahmanical literature evidences the roots of differences, the Buddhist argued for the equality of all human beings. The social, philosophical and/or religious reforms or movements like Ambedkar’s Dalit Movement or Caitanya’s Bhakti movement became the milestone in the journey of relocating the marginalized people, and the then literature reflects, rather documents these social changes. The social realities along with all other norms of dalit lives and their crisis of identity are the focus of marginal literature. The struggle to get back their own justifiable position is another important issue of such literatures, where the conscious attempt has been made to differentiate it from other literature. Dalit aesthetics challenges the customary norms of literary criticism and tries to project its separate identity by voicing otherness. As this also involves concerns of equity and justices, the issue of legality is also occupies a significant position in Dalit Studies. Film, drama or other media can be included here as literary texts, which time and again involve themselves by questioning and reconfiguring marginality. 

To redefine the problems of marginality in current Indian and the global scenario is very much pertinent, as the society is now facing some sensitive questions. The proposed seminar would be a platform for the interactive discourses on the issues of social politics and relocating marginality from the perspective of Indian literature. It would be interdisciplinary in nature, and it will not deal only with different modern literary texts, but also the ancient and mediaeval literature of India. 


The seminar will address, but not remain limited to the following issues:
• Marginality in literary discourses
• Ethnicity, language and marginality
• Speech communities, dialects and question of marginality
• Tribal Languages and Literature –Issues of translation 
• Marginality in oral tradition
• Caste hierarchy and marginality
• Gender discrimination 
• Cultural marginality
• Marginality thinkers
• Socio-religious reforms and marginality
• Social violence and marginality
• Dalit aesthetics 
• Marginality as reflected in film and drama
• Marginality and media
• Marginality and legalists 

Submission of abstracts

• Abstract (within 300 words) should be sent on/before 18th September, 2017 through email to, 
Cc to
• Authors should clearly mention their name, affiliation, contact no, e-mail address and the title of the paper. 
• Language of the paper and abstract : English, Hindi, Bengali; Style sheet : MLA format, 8th edition. 
• The sub themes mentioned are only suggestive. Presentation time will be 15-20 minutes.
• After the blind review of the abstracts the selected authors will be informed through mail and University Website.

• On receiving the acceptance letter, participants should send the registration fee through demand draft. (Details of DD will be given with the acceptance letter).
• Registration fee includes conference kit, working lunches, dinners, breakfasts, tea, snacks and cultural programme. (Registration fee does not include the accommodation. A list of good hotels near the University will be provided in second circular). 
• Registration fee : Rs. 2500/-, (Outside Visva-Bharati) 
• Registration fee for the faculty, staff and research scholars of Visva-Bharati : Rs.1500/- 
• The participation/ paper presentation certificates will be distributed only in Valedictory session of the seminar.

Important Dates
Submission of abstracts: September 18, 2017
Communication of acceptance: September 25, 2017
Deadline for registration : October 18, 2017
Full Paper submission : November 2, 2017

Dr. Gargi Bhattacharya : 0-9007856721;
  • Mr. Ranvir Sumedh Bhagwan : 0-7585950365,

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