Proposal Guidelines

Deadline: January 10, 2018.


From fears of an imminent environmental crisis to pervasive concerns about security, we seem to be living in an age in which anxiety has permeated public discourse on an unprecedented scale.  While the intensity and scope of many contemporary fears might be new, recent scholarship has shown that anxiety — broadly understood as fear without a definite object — has been a longstanding feature of political life. No longer regarded as a purely private experience, anxiety has come to be recognized as an affective state that has shaped not only state policies but political subjectivities themselves.  Through their focus on anxiety, recent studies in disciplines across the humanities and social sciences have revealed the inadequacy of accounts that have viewed politics and the state purely through the prism of reason and rationality. In the context of South Asia, such studies have shown the extent to which the rule of the colonial and post colonial states has been marked by apprehensions emanating from epistemic and ontological uncertainties that have contributed to frequent slippages between the ordinary and extraordinary powers of the state. At a time when a politics of anxiety appears to have led to a surge in populism across the world, this conference invites applicants to probe anxiety as a public phenomenon in South Asia in both historical and contemporary contexts.

The seventh annual Princeton South Asia Conference will bring together early career scholars (advanced graduate students and junior faculty) across disciplines that engage with South Asia. In keeping with the theme of the conference, 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 may engage, but need not limit themselves to, any of the following topics related to the conference theme:

  • Empire and Colonial Difference
  • Movement and Migration
  • Gender, Caste and Social Hierarchies
  • Tradition and Modernity
  • Propaganda and Mass Media
  • The environmental crisis
  • Finance and Speculation
  • Identity and Culture
  • Science and Development
  • Infrastructure and Urban Crisis

The event will be held on April 6-7, 2018 in Princeton, NJ. Questions can be directed to:

Princeton University will provide participants with shared accommodations for two nights and will contribute toward transportation 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 by January 5, 2018.

Sponsored by: Program in South Asian Studies at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; Center for Human Values;  Department of Near Eastern Studies; Department of Religion; Department of Comparative Literature; Center for the Study of Religion; Program in Law and Public Affairs; Department of English 

The organizing committee of the 2018 South Asia Conference would like to acknowledge the generous support of Aparajita Ninan for the image used above for this year’s workshop.

 All images © Aparajita Ninan