Debrupa Bal Memorial National Students' Seminar on "Aesthetics, Poetics in/and Indian Literary Cultures", March 13-14, 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Department of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India
contact email: 

Generally the tendency is to go back to our 'classical' (Sanskritic, more specifically?) heritage when it comes to conceptually locating the role played by diverse aesthetic and poetic categories in shaping the production and consumption of texts in the backdrop of various Indian literary milieus. Notwithstanding its altogether too apparent significance, it does exclude numerous other possibilities. The most obvious among them being the probable existence of similar such categories – some novel, some derived from the 'classical' sources and re-structured in the process – in the innumerable oral and scribal Indian language-literary cultures. The categorical distinction and interaction between deśi and mārgī cultural forms has been known at least since the time of composition of the Vedas. But as far as poetics and aesthetics are concerned, stress is seldom put on the deśi end of the spectrum even in this heyday of 'bhasha'-literature enthusiasm, and what was supposed to be a dialectical process gives the impression of one-way trafficking. While not aiming to look away from the mārga, the deśa is what this seminar is willing to begin from. The question however remains. Have the Indian language-literary systems been able to construct their own sets of aesthetic and poetic values? And if they have not, can one not abstract some form of aesthetic and poetic preferences from the actual practices of composition and consumption? Although one cannot vouch for this possibility, it would perhaps be admitted that the search should begin somewhere. The modest aim of this seminar is merely to trigger that beginning, instructed by the desire to 'read' texts produced and received within Indian literary cultures in their own terms. The epithet 'literary' is used here in the loosest possible sense, and one of the crucial foci of this seminar would be to scrutinize the dynamics of artistic re-presentation, as permeated by recognizable or not-so-easily fixed aesthetic and poetic categories, across medias and mediums. In the process, this seminar would also like to attempt to ask with no less vigour what, at all, is the difference between these two categories – aesthetic and poetic – especially in the context of Indian literatures? Contributions from students (up to M.Phil level) are invited on the same. Papers can either be in English or Hindi or Bangla.

Abstracts clearly mentioning the title of the paper, name, designation, telephone number and contact details of the author(s) and not exceeding 300 words are to be submitted by 15 February, 2013 to

Acceptance of the abstract would be notified by 25 February, 2013.

P.S. Studies concentrating exclusively on "Indian Writing in English" without any methodological reflection on the problematic relationship between IWE and Indian language-literary systems would not fit into the theme of this seminar.