2016: The Natural Worlds of South Asia

FINAL CALL: Deadline extended until January 25, 2016.

At a juncture when global warming is challenging disciplinary boundaries and the foundational theories of our knowledge, this conference aims to generate discussion about the place of the environment in South Asia. The natural world has been conceived in many ways: as a provider of resources, a cyclical system with inputs and outputs, a holistic habitat, an artistic trope, a fragile entity to be protected or conserved, or a vengeful force beyond human control or comprehension. Scholars have used environmental themes to justify normative models and radical social critiques alike. New debates on the Anthropocene consider issues of temporal and geological scale, pointing to the global ecological effects of local decisions and practices, and vice versa. Underlying these varied concepts and manipulations run epistemological and ontological questions about the place of humans in the natural world, challenging the dialectic of nature and culture. As the uncertainties of a changing climate preoccupy today’s thinkers, our conversations will place environment at the center of analysis.

The fifth annual Princeton South Asia conference will bring together early career scholars (graduate students and junior faculty) across disciplines that engage with South Asia. We invite papers that engage with South Asia in a broad sense, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Nepal, the Maldives, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar or Burma, India, and transnational and diasporic spaces.

Papers might address these and other themes:

  • Theories and understandings of nature
  • Environment and ecology in the urban, the rural, and “the wild”
  • Representations and aesthetics of nature in art and literature
  • Social justice, law, and environmental rights
  • The non-human world: creatures, crops, and micro-organisms
  • Environmental resources, economy, and governance
  • Environmental precarity and risk
  • Re-imagining South Asian environments with respect to global warming

The event will be held on April 29-30, 2016 in Princeton, NJ. Questions can be directed to: princeton.sas2016@gmail.com.

Princeton University will provide participants with accommodation for two nights and will contribute toward travel expenses. Participants are encouraged to seek funding from their home institutions as well.

Proposals should include a title, a 250-word abstract, institutional affiliation, and contact information. Please submit proposals at http://goo.gl/forms/MeIUCpvxuF by 10 January, 2016.
UPDATE: Deadline extended until January 25, 2016.

The conference is sponsored by the Program in South Asian Studies.

The organizing committee of the 2016 South Asia Conference would like to acknowledge the generous support of Sarnath Banerjee for the image used above for this year’s workshop.

Detail from A-303, Acrylic and ink on paper (two parts). 42” x 42”. 2011.

All images © Sarnath Banerjee

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