UPDATE: [Cultural-Historical] Gender and Sexuality in South Asian Literature and Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Robin Field
contact email: 


9th Annual SALA (South Asian Literary Association) Conference
San Francisco, December 26-27, 2008

Conference Theme: “Gender and Sexuality in South Asian Literature and

Discussions of gender and sexuality in South Asia can be examined in
relation to colonial reform measures that targeted women as a special
constituency and postcolonial models of development that emphasize women’s
role in nation-building and national development. The colonial and
postcolonial state’s focus on gender is reinforced by strong trajectories
of women’s movements in this region. More recently, an activism that
combines the struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT)
people, under the term ‘queer’, has emerged in South Asia. Now South Asian
women’s and queer movements also assert their similarities to and
differences from similar forms of activism in the West. However, as with
activism, representations of gender and sexuality in South Asian literary
and cultural fields reveal Western as well as local influences. In some
cases, these representations contribute to, and further, feminist and
queer politics in South Asia.

We invite papers on literature, criticism, film, cultural, and social
activism that explore any aspect of gender and sexuality as constitutive
of the South Asian experience in national and diasporic contexts. Papers
may explore, but are not restricted to, the following areas:

• The literary and social constructions of masculinity and/or
femininity in colonial times and in anti-colonial resistance movements
• Literary, critical, and filmic representations of gender as a
category of ‘reform’ in colonial times and of ‘development’ in
postcolonial times
• Non-canonical social and literary texts (women’s magazines,
newspaper reports, oral histories, life-narratives) that constitute the
history of women’s writing in South Asia
• Writings about women’s experiences in significant moments of South
Asian history (anti-colonial resistance, Partition, Naxalite movement,
Civil War in Sri Lanka etc.)
• The emergence of new directions in South Asian women’s literature:
diasporic women’s fiction, dalit women’s autobiography, feminist poetry
• Critical accounts of the legacy of colonial legislation in
postcolonial times, such as Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and
Article 365 of the Sri Lankan Penal Code, criminalizing “sodomy” and
other “unnatural sexual acts”
• Recent publications addressing same-sex relations in South Asian
history, culture, and literature including anthologies of critical and
creative writing, fiction, poetry, and drama
• Books, pamphlets, posters, documentaries on debates about the
relevance of sexuality-based activism in South Asia.
• The impact of popular cinema and iconic figures in shaping
constructions of gender and sexuality
• Intersection of concerns of class, gender, and sexuality in
literary, cultural, and social spaces
• The influence of South Asian diasporic writings, including
feminist and gender theory in the Western and South Asian academy

Please send a 300-word abstract of your paper and a 5-6 line bio-note
listing your institutional affiliation and current email address to the
conference co-chairs at the email addresses given below. The subject line
of your email should contain the words “SALA 2008.”

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15th July 2008

Email addresses:
kanika.batra_at_ttu.edu and RobinField_at_kings.edu

Postal addresses:
Dr. Kanika Batra, Department of English, Texas Tech University, Lubbock,
Box 43091, TX 79409-3091 Fax Number: 806-742-0989

Dr. Robin Field, Department of English, King's College, 133 N. River
Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711. Fax Number: 570-208-5988

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Received on Wed Jun 11 2008 - 19:21:33 EDT