[UPDATE] International Conference on Contemporary English Studies: Society, Culture and Language March 6-8, 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Department of English, Assam University & Forum for English Studies, Assam University
contact email: 
dipenduds@yahoo.co.in

Introduction:

The Department of English, Assam University and the Forum for English Studies, Assam University will jointly organize a three-day International Conference on “Contemporary English Studies: Society, Culture and Language.” The conference would include a key-note speech and other invited lectures by eminent scholars as well as presentations by participants. The maximum number of participants which the conference could welcome is approximately 200. Proposals for participation from interested faculty members, research scholars and other academicians engaged with the various branches/areas of English studies are welcome.

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: The submission deadline has been extended. A Three-hundred
word (300 words) abstract of the proposed paper should be sent latest by 31st January, 2013. The abstracts may be sent as email attachments (MS word. Times New Roman.) to dipenduds@yahoo.co.in, dipendudas2011@gmail.com or jaydeepenglish@gmail.com.

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. IFSC: SBIN0014260. MICR: 788002522. Swipe Code: SBININBB481. Current 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 fee is Rs. 3500/.
 Late registration fee after 31st January 2013 for Students and Research scholars (not employed) is Rs. 2500/ only.
 The organizers may arrange the accommodation of the participants on payment of an extra charge of Rs 3000/- (Rupees three Thousand only).

Confirmed Speakers:

Sanjukta Dasgupta is a Professor of English at the University of Calcutta. Her areas of interest include English, American and Indian English literature; Gender studies; Colonial and Postcolonial women’s writing, Women and/in Indian Films, Migration and Diaspora studies, Translation Studies and Creative Writing.

Prof. Dasgupta has also established herself as a poet, critic and translator of repute and has contributed publications to journals of distinction in India and abroad. She has been a recipient of the British Council Charles Wallace Scholar grant, Fulbright postdoctoral research fellowship, Fulbright Alumni Initiative Award, Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Suny, Oswego, NYS, Australia India Council Fellowship, Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Women’s Research and Gender studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Associate Fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, Visiting Fellow at the Women Studies and Development Centre, University of Delhi. She is the Managing Editor of FAMILIES: A Journal of Representations, a Fulbright Alumni Initiative project journal launched in 2002.

Prof. Dasgupta has visited, delivered lectures and talks and presented papers in Nepal, Bangladesh, Melbourne, Malta, Stockholm and at Charles University, Prague, Oxford University, UK, Jagiellonski University and Pedagogical University, Krakow, Poland and also at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK. She has taught a summer course on postcolonial theory and literary criticism at the State University of New York, Oswego, NYS as a Visiting Professor.

Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee taught English Literature at an undergraduate college in Silchar and Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He also worked as the Secretary of Sahitya Akademi’s Eastern Regional Office at Kolkata, as the Editor of Sahitya Akademi’s Journal, Indian Literature, in Delhi and as the Director of National Book Trust at Delhi. At present he functions as the Director of K K Birla Foundation, Delhi. His English translation of Mahashweta Devi’s The Armenian Champak Tree, Sunil Gangopadhyay’s The Dreadful Beauty, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s The Ghost of Gosain Bagan and Bengali translation of U R Anantamurthy’s short story collection, Surya Sarathi have been critically acclaimed. He co-edits CIIL’s web- journal Translation Today and is a Member of the Programme Advisory Committee of the National Translation Mission launched by the Goverment of India. He co-edited Barbed Wire Fence: Stories of Displacement from the Barak Valley of Assam (2012). He was awarded the diploma for excellence in translation by the International Board for Books for Young People ( IBBY) in its Congress held at London in 2012 for his English translation of Bhayankar Sundar ( The Dreadful Beauty ) by Sunil Gangopadhyay. He co-edited with A J Thomas four volumes of The Best Of Indian Literature published by Sahitya Akademi in 2012.

David Johnston submitted his doctorate on Buero Vallejo and Unamuno in 1982. He taught Spanish in the universities of Ulster, Hull and Strathclyde before taking up the Musgrave Chair in Hispanic Studies at Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland in 1991. His principal research interests lie in theatre, and the theory and practice of literary translation. He is committed to the idea of practice as research, both in terms of performance and of translation as a writing practice, and much of his work deals with the ways in which theory and practice are mutually illuminating.
Prof. Johnston is co-director of the Queen’s University based research forum ‘Betwixt and Between: Translation and Cultural Encounter’, which holds an international conference and various symposia every year. He is a multi-award winning translator for the stage, and has written versions of over thirty plays from Spain, Latin America, Portugal and France for professional performance around the world. Fifteen of these translations have been published. He was one of the pioneers of the ground-breaking Spanish Golden Age season at London’s Gate Theatre in the early 1990s, where he won The Observer Special Award for Achievement in Theatre and London Weekend Television’s New Plays on Stage Award. Most recently he was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to write a translation of Lope de Vega’s El perro del hortelano, the third time he has been commissioned by the RSC, he has worked closely with the Royal Court’s International Department, and he has had work performed on both television and radio. He is also a commissioned writer for the Atelier Européen de la Traduction (Université d’Orléans), with whom he maintains a close collaborative relationship.

Mahesh Dattani

Mahesh Dattani is the first playwright in English to be awarded the Sahitya Akademi award. Born and brought up in Bangalore, Dattani’s foray in the world of drama began in 1984 when he founded his playgroup 'Playpen'. Apart from theatre, Shri Mahesh Dattani is also active in the field of film making. His films have been appreciated all over the world. His film 'Dance Like A Man' has won the award for the best film in English awarded by the National Panorama. Besides being a playwright and a director, Shri Mahesh Dattani adorns the mantle of a teacher with equal ease. He teaches theatre courses at the summer session programmes of the Portland University, Oregon, USA. He also imparts training in the field of acting, directing and play writing at his own theatre studio in Bangalore.

Pramod Pandey

Pramod Kumar Pandey is a Professor at the Centre for Linguistics, and holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, an M.Litt., in English, an M.A. in Linguistics and an M.A. in English. He has been engaged in teaching and research for the past 29 years. He was awarded the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency Fellowship, Bellagio, Italy, 2003, and Guest Scientist, Department of Linguistics, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, 2003, in the Fifth Plan period. His research interests include Phonetics and Phonology, Morphology, Linguistic Theory, English Language Teaching, Writing systems, and Research Methodology.
Bijay K Danta
Bijay K Danta is a Professor of English at Tezpur University. He teaches literature and critical theory, and translates from Assamese and Oriya into English. He has a PhD on metafiction (Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, 1998). His critical writings include essays on Shakespeare, Eliot, Faulkner, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Kurt Vonnegut, Edward Said, Toni Morrison and JM Coetzee. He has coedited, with Biyotkesh Tripathy, The Indian Mind: Essays of the Inimitable Govinda Tripathy (2004), a collection of essays translated from Oriya to English specifically for this volume. He is currently working on a materialist reading of William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha novels. His present research interests include postcolonial self-fashioning in life writing and travel writing.

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

About Assam University: Assam University is a Central University established in 1994 by an act of the Indian Parliament. It is a teaching cum affiliating university with academic jurisdiction over five districts of Southern Assam, India. The University is located at a distance of 17 kilometres from Silchar town, the second largest city of Assam, India. The Department of English is one of the oldest and prestigious departments of the University. Interested participants may browse the University’s website www.aus.ac.in for additional information. There are regular flight connections between Silchar and Kolkata and Silchar and Guwahati, and on alternative days between Silchar and Agartala, Silchr and Jorhat, Silchar and Imphal and Silchar and Dibrugarh. Besides, there are also road and train connections with Guwahati and Agartala. The weather in early March is usually pleasant here.

Dipendu Das
Convenor Joint Convenor
Associate Professor

Jaydeep Chakrabarty
Joint Convenor
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Assam University
Silchar. Pin: 788011
Assam. India
Cell: 91+9435172416
Cell: 91+9954498495
Email: dipenduds@yahoo.co.in &
Email: jaydeepenglish@gmail.com
dipendudas2011@gmail.com

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