Contemporary English Studies: Society, Culture and Language March 6-8, 2013

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Department of English, Assam University & Forum for English Studies, Assam University
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The Concept Note:

By the first decade of the twenty first century, English Studies has become a complex design of contesting and complementing ideas and interests. In fact, the very shift from “English” to “English Studies” in current usages foregrounds the fact that the area under consideration is no longer a unified and uniform one. While till the advent of postcolonial and other related approaches academic engagement with English meant the study of British and American literature and some bit of history of the language, today literatures in English from the former colonies like India, Africa, Canada and Australia are getting attention and priority. Interestingly, texts originally written in the indigenous languages, too, are being studied and here, the theory and practice of translation have become significant tools. The rise in identity politics and awareness in the international scenario has also considerably promoted the study of writings based on identity politics, such as feminist, multi-ethnic, queer and various other subaltern groups. Thus the English canon has begun to expand and renew itself in its journey from the “Eurocentric” to the “multicultural.” Even within British literature, texts that were traditionally ignored, neglected or unknown, are emerging as interesting records of human transaction.
So far as studies in English literature/s are concerned, there also seems to be a gradual marked shift in the tone and approach. It is seen that the Arnoldian-Leavisite liberal humanist approach is being largely replaced by the new historicist, deconstructionist, feminist, postcolonial and other similar mode of studies. While the approaches are diverse and divergent, the only common thread that can be found in these is a sustained interrogation of the canonical texts for the silences, marginalizations and exclusions. This has necessitated the change of parameters of literary studies, chiefly in terms of the transition from the “aesthetic” to the “political.” In spite of deconstruction and its overarching textualities, there is a constant urge within the field to recognize, project and interrogate issues primarily related to society, culture and language. In brief, the boundaries of the cultural politics of English studies are ever shifting.
It must be acknowledged that literary studies and research in English has never been possible without the help of core social science disciplines like history and sociology. This has only been intensified and expanded by the recent developments. In fact, areas like women studies, gender studies, ecology, studies of race and colonialism, which are some of the major concerns of English studies, primarily belong to Social Sciences. In view of such revolutionary changes in the scope and focus of the discipline known as “English Studies,” a constant negotiation with the social sciences has become imperative.
In the above context, it deems pertinent to examine and explore the implications of these changes in English studies. The conference aims at exploring the dynamics and implications of this transitions which can contribute in preparing a future roadmap for the discipline. To highlight the major stakes and contentions, a few sub-themes/topics have been chosen; which, however, are meant to be indicative only, and not exhaustive.

• English Studies and Social Sciences: Concerns and Trends
• English Literatures: The Emerging Canons
• Reinventing British English Literature
• Decolonization and the English Language
• Society, Racism and Colonialism: Postcolonial Literatures
• Diaspora, Hybridity and Globalization
• Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary English Literature
• Identity and Violence: Multi-Ethnic Literature, Dalit Writing
• World Literature and Cultural Interface: Role of English in Translation
• Interdisciplinarity: English Studies Beyond Disciplines
• The Postmodern Perspective: Literature and Beyond
• English as the Language of Power : From “English” to “englishes”
• English in India: North East and Beyond

Submission Deadline: A Three-hundred word (300 words) abstract of the proposed paper should be sent latest by 31st December, 2012. The abstracts may be sent as email attachments (MS word. Times New Roman.) to, or

Registration Fee: The participants are required to pay a registration fee of Rs 2500/- (Rupees Two Thousand Five Hundred only) either through online or bank draft in favour of ICCES 2013 payable at State Bank of India, Dargakona Branch (Code 14260. A/C no. 32610757743). The bank draft may be sent either to the Convenor or to the Joint Convenor. The Registration amount includes seminar kit, lunch and tea during the conference and an abstract volume. The participants will have to bear their own travel and accommodation expenses.

 Early bird Registration fee of selected participants within January 31, 2013 is Rs.2500/.
 For students and Research scholars (not employed) Registration fee is Rs.1500/.
 Late registration fee after 31st January 2013 and on spot registration is Rs. 3500/.
 Late registration fee after 31st January 2013 for Students and Research scholars (not employed) is Rs. 2500/.
 The organizers may arrange the accommodation of the participants (maximum three nights) on payment of an extra charge of Rs. 3000/.

Organizing Committee:

Chief Patron: Somnath Dasgupta, Vice Chancellor, Assam University
Chair Person: Dipankar Purkayastha, Head, Dept. of English
Convenor: Dipendu Das
Joint Convenor: Jaydeep Chakrabarty
Members: Rosaline Jamir
Ramaprasad Biswas
Baby Pushpa Sinha
Anindya Syam Choudhury
Sumana Chakraborty
Lalthakim Hmar
Saugata K. Nath
Anindya Sen

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