The seventeenth International Conference of the Forum on Contemporary Theory will be held in Goa from the 21st to the 24th of December 2014 at the International Centre in collaboration with the International Lincoln Centre for American Studies, Louisiana State University in Shreveport , USA .
The theme of the conference is: “Re-Imagining Theory: Towards New Horizons in the Humanities and the Social Sciences.”
More information can be accessed HERE.
21-24 December 2014
International Centre, Goa
A plenary session of the conference will be devoted to a close reading of B. R. Ambedkar’s 1936 text Annihilation of Caste. However, this close reading is expected to take into account the immediate political and social context in which it was written and circulated, and our own context now when the question of caste has reinvigorated our political discourse.
By re-issuing the text recently with a long introduction by Arundhati Roy, Navayana Publishers have brought to our attention that Hinduism with its entrenched caste system still continues to be the Achilles heel in the charged debates about our identity as a nation.
Gandhi’s reaction after reading the text that “no Hindu who prizes his faith above life itself can afford to underrate the importance of this indictment” is an invitation to engage with it with an open mind so that Ambedkar’s views on caste as an ubiquitous “monster” may be analyzed more thoroughly through rhetorical readings of the shastras and the Vedas which Ambedkar holds responsible for polluting the Indian mind.
Ambedkar, though severely critical of Gandhi’s notion of freedom, inadvertently or otherwise, returns, almost in a Freudian mode of “transference” to Gandhi’s trope of “swaraj” at the end of his own essay, which is reminiscent of Hind Swaraj.
One should therefore read Annihilation of Caste as a complement to Hind Swaraj in addressing the issue of what a new and free India should look like. Ambedkar’s central thesis is that by achieving only political and economic independence India will not be a free nation.
Unless and until the caste system is abolished by means of a social revolution India will continue to live in internal subjugation. “In the fight for swaraj, you fight with the whole nation on your side” sounds quintessentially Gandhian, even as it complicates and problematizes Gandhian assumptions of the undivided plenitude of India as a nation.
A conjunctural reading of Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste and Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj, two paradigmatic texts, both timely and timeless in their vision, has much to contribute to our understanding of contemporary India , its hopes as well as anxieties.
500-word abstract or proposal is due by August 31, 2014.
The abstract should have a title for the presentation along with the name and institutional affiliation of the presenter and should be mailed as an email attachment to R. Radhakrishnan, the Convener of the Conference (firstname.lastname@example.org), with a copy marked to Prafulla Kar (email@example.com).
Complete papers should be limited to 12 pages (approximately 20 minutes of reading time). A longer version may be submitted for possible publication in the Journal of Contemporary Thought or in the conference volume brought out by the Forum. The completed paper should reach the Convener of the Conference by November 15, 2014.
Select papers from the conference and from those submitted in response to the “Call for Papers” will be included in the conference volume. Completed papers for the conference volume should reach the Conference Convener as email attachments by April 10, 2015.
The last date for receiving the registration fee is September 20, 2014. The fee may be paid through a bank draft drawn in favor of Forum on Contemporary Theory payable in Baroda. Overseas participants may pay through checks drawn in favor of Forum on Contemporary Theory.
The amount should be sent to the Forum’s address mentioned on this leaflet. We encourage the participants to register early so that their accommodation is secured at the International Centre, Goa where the conference would be held. Those who pay late will be accommodated in other hotels or in the University Guesthouse. All participants need to be pre-registered. The registration fee is non-refundable. Each participant will share the room with another participant.
1. Participant from India (life member of the Forum): Rs. 6000
2. Participant from India (non-member): Rs. 8000
3. Overseas Participant (non-SAARC country): US $500
4. Overseas Participant (SAARC country): US $250
5. Local Participant (non-member): Rs.4000
6. Local Participant (life member of the Forum): Rs.2500
The registration fee from the outstation participant will take care of board and lodging from the afternoon of the 21st to lunch time on the 24th December 2014.
The conference will begin at about 9 am on the 22nd December and end with lunch on the 24th.
1. Prafulla C. Kar, Convener, Forum on Contemporary Theory, Baroda
Tel: 0265-2338067 (R) (0265) 2320870 (O), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. R. Radhakrishnan, Convener of the Conference, Chancellor’s Professor of English and Comparative Literature, The University of California, Irvine
3. William D. Pederson, Conference Coordinator, Professor of Political Science, the American Studies Endowed Chair, and the Director of the International Lincoln Center at Louisiana State University, Shreveport, USA
More information can be accessed HERE.