Rethinking South Asia: Postcoloniality & Decolonial Frames and Praxis

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
The South Asian Literary Association (SALA)
contact email: 

CFP: Rethinking South Asia: Postcoloniality & Decolonial Frames and Praxis 

    24th Annual South Asian Literary Association (SALA) Online Conference 

                                    January 18th and 19th, 2025 

In her oft-cited article, “Postcolonial and Decolonial Dialogues,” Gurminder Bhambra (2014) states, “Postcolonialism and decoloniality are only made necessary as a consequence of the depredations of colonialism, but in their intellectual resistance to associated forms of epistemological dominance they offer more than simple opposition. They offer, in the words of María Lugones, the possibility of a new geopolitics of knowledge” (p. 120). This conference seeks pathways to such “new geopolitics of knowledge” by engaging both canonical as well as emerging dialogues on coloniality and freedom in South Asia. Simultaneously, we want scholars to consider the temporal shifts in what gets packaged as “postcoloniality” and “decoloniality” in academia and activism. Traditionally, literary scholarship from/about South Asia has shown deeper engagement with postcolonial studies than with decoloniality and decolonization. Though the “post” in postcolonial is not necessarily a linear understanding of lives after formal decolonization, it has frequently taken up that assumption as more relevant to unpacking the region we know as “South Asia.” India has been a hegemonic force in this region and therefore, South Asian studies is usually dominated by upper-caste theorists from Indian contexts. This has led to the downplaying of the cultural productions of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It has also reduced the visibility of the occupation of Kashmir, the separatist movements in Balochistan and India’s “Northeast,” and the continuance of pre-British colonial structures of oppression such as the caste system. There is also a relative erasure of scholarship on cultural production and literature from Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. 

The quoted extract from Bhambra’s article suggests that decolonial critique may offer a different approach to producing knowledge that can push back against ongoing genocides in regions as disparate as Manipur, Myanmar, and Palestine and demand accountability from settler colonial and oppressive regimes. However, we are also aware that the vocabulary of decolonization is often co-opted/hijacked/weaponized within Hindutva and other majoritarian ethnonationalist framings of history and culture to affirm/reinforce the casteist, Islamophobic, patriarchal, racist, and colonial logics. This framing of history further legitimizes exclusionary laws such as the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019.

We invite abstracts that consider what South Asian studies may offer or learn from this current political moment that rethinks concepts of postcoloniality, decolonial reconstructions, and anticolonial intersections. Violence against the ‘other,’ along with survivals of imperial constructs, are brutally dominant in contemporary relations. This conference urges us to think of how we can address complicities and relations of belonging through decolonial hermeneutics within South Asia. Along with this, the present moment warrants our attention to how we can study the uneven decolonization in South Asian contexts and consider what relations are being ignored or appropriated and for whom in South Asian literary and cultural studies. We welcome scholarly papers, creative writing,* and panels in all areas of literature and language, including linguistics and language studies, as well as the teaching of these areas, as they pertain to our theme and the subthemes noted below:


  1. Conceptual Frameworks
  2. Mapping Intellectual Traditions 
  3. Grassroots Activist Approaches to Knowledge
  4. Methods of Reading and Listening
  5. Indigeneity
  6. Regional Literature 
  7. Beyond Eurocentrism 
  8. Partition Studies and Border Studies 
  9. Caste Capital
  10. 10.Decolonial Feminism
  11. 11.Queerness and Decoloniality
  12. 12.Breaking Scholarly Canons
  13. 13.Brownness
  14. 14.Education and the University
  15. 15.Middle East and South Asia
  16. 16.Language and Reality
  17. 17.Speciesism and the Human
  18. 18.Ecology/Planet
  19. 19.Despair and the Now
  20. 20.Coloniality and Modernity
  21. 21.Pluralism and Diversity
  22. 22.Care and Solidarity
  23. 23.Disability and Ableism
  24. 24.Accomplice versus All
  25. Protests and Resistance

*We will resume our tradition of hosting a Hamara Mushaira when we resume in-person conferences in 2026.

Please submit 250-300-word abstracts along with 150-word bio-note by September 1, 2024, via the portal on the South Asian Literary Association’s webpage:

2025 SALA Annual Conference Paper and Panel Proposal Forms

If you have any conference related questions, please email the conference co-chairs at This email address is only for conference related correspondence, and not for submitting abstracts. Please use the web portal to submit your abstracts.

For membership and other details, please visit the SALA website. Please note that those who submit abstracts for consideration to the SALA conference must become members at the time of submission. Conference participants are expected to register by November 1st, 2024, at the latest. Those who haven’t registered for the conference will not be included in the final program.

Conference Co-Chairs: 

Rajorshi Das ( is a Diehl-Seely Fellow and PhD candidate in English with a certificate in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS). They study contemporary liberal queer narratives emerging out of India across print and digital platforms. Rajorshi’s dissertation relies on decolonial and anti-caste methodologies and interviews to unpack the messiness of queer and trans storytelling in the region. As a commitment towards public engagement and scholarship, they interview activists and artists for their podcast, Queerness and Storytelling in India. Das’s articles have been published or are forthcoming in Postcolonial Text and GLQ: Lesbian and Gay Studies.

Arnab Dutta Roy ( is an Assistant Professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University.  His research is located at the intersection of postcolonialism, human rights theory, and modern South Asian literature, and has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including the Journal of Global Postcolonial StudiesSouth Asian ReviewGenreAmerican Book ReviewLiterary Universals ProjectComparatistHumanities, and the APA Studies on Asian and Asian American Philosophers and Philosophies. His forthcoming works include two co-edited volumes, The Postcolonial Bildungsroman: Narratives of Youth, Representational Politics and Aesthetic Reinventions (forthcoming from University of Alberta Press) and The Postcolonial Bildungsroman and the Character of Place (forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press)  and the co-edited special issue Constructing the Other: Narrative Empathy and the Ethics of Border-Crossing in World Literature (forthcoming from the Journal of World Literature; extended version forthcoming with Brill Press). At FGCU, he teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses on world literature and postcolonial theory.

Amrita Ghosh ( is an Assistant Professor of English at University of Central Florida. She is the author of Kashmir’s Necropolis: Literary, Cultural and Visual Texts, Lexington Books 2023, co-editor of Tagore and Yeats: A Postcolonial Re-envisioning (Brill 2022), and ReFiguring Global Challenges: Literary and Cinematic Explorations of War, Inequality and Migration (Brill 2023). Her research interests are in the field of postcolonial and decolonial studies, gender and agency, memory and nostalgia, colonialism and representation, and border studies. Her forthcoming work on a co-written book on India’s cultural industries and on Indo-Bangladeshi borderlands is coming soon. Ghosh teaches graduate and undergrad courses on South Asian literatures and film and postcolonial theory at UCF, and hosts podcasts on South Asia and culture on the side (WireIndiaMehfil, SpaceInk).