CALL FOR PAPERS: NATIVE RESPONSES TO THE 'SUBALTERN': VOICES FROM NORTH-EAST INDIA (DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS: APRIL 30, 2014)
The term "Subaltern" is related to the hegemonic power dynamics of the world. It refers to, in a broad context, all the persons who are socially, politically, geographically and economically not included or given a position in the hegemonic power structure of the colonial set-up. Thus, "Subaltern" refers to the colonized communities around the world. Subaltern as a subject is probably the most influential in the field of Post-colonial theory. Its impact has spanned across the disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology, literary studies, feminism and women studies. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, one of the pioneers in the subaltern studies, brought the subject into much discussion along with Edward Said's Orientalism in her essay "Can the Subaltern Speak" (1988). It describes the lower classes of the society or we may say a marginalized group who are deprived of the basic facilities of life. Colonialism is a basic structure of the Western culture being applied influentially to the rest of the world, especially the places away from the continent of Europe. India as a country outside the European continent is no exception to this process. The British people came to India and made the country colonized for a long period of time, thus creating a hegemonic structure by identifying the Indians as uncivilized and barbaric, or inferior to the West in every possible aspect. India as a country is considered as an "infantile civilization" by the colonized people.
Through the process of colonization by the Britishers, the people of India became marginalized in their own country. This marginalization helps the European colonizers to make the colonized countries, India in this context, as the "Other" through the process of hegemony. To reaffirm the process of hegemony, Edward Said in his path breaking book Orientalism refers to "the idea of European identity as a superior one in comparison with all the non-European peoples and cultures." In this context, we may refer to Spivak who maintains, "In Post-colonial terms, everything that has limited or no access to the cultural imperialism is subaltern." The Indians become the subaltern through the process of colonization to a superior group, the Western. But the Indians are also guilty of the same process by making subaltern categories among their own community from the ancient past and even now. This creation of subaltern is found in every stratum of the society by making the lower caste as Dalits, the women as the "second sex" and even some of the states in India become marginalized in this process.
The North Eastern part of India has a unique topographical structure. The region is geographically secluded from the rest of the Indian subcontinent because of two aspects. Firstly, the whole region falls in a rough terrain of the Himalayan Mountain range. Secondly, the region is geographically cut off from the rest of the country with a very narrow link in the North making it hard to have a proper surface communication system. Until the end of the 20th century there was hardly any focus drawn to the people living in the virgin beauty of the region. When the whole country was seen in the light of globalization, the deserted triangle of the North-East remained in darkness. In fact even now it is not sufficiently explored. It is the British colonizers who invented the term North-East which were adopted by the Indians later to mark the seven states situated in the north east part of India and after independence the states fall in a state of identity crisis through a process of continuous marginalization by the centre as marginalized culturally, socially, politically, intellectually and even psychologically.
The proposed anthology will examines how various brands of identity politics since the colonial days have served to create the basis of exclusion of groups, resulting in various forms of rifts, often envisaged in binary terms: majority-minority; 'sons of the soil'-immigrants; local-outsiders; tribal-non-tribal; hills-plains; inter-tribal; and intra-tribal. Given the strategic and sensitive border areas, low level of development, immense cultural diversity, and participatory democratic processes, social exclusion has resulted in perceptions of marginalization, deprivation, and identity losses. All of these adding to the strong basis of brands of separatist movements in the garb of regionalism, sub nationalism, and ethnic politics, most often verging on extremism and secession. The writers of the region such as Anjum Hasan, A.K. Choudhury, Bhaskar Roy Barman, Daisy Hasan, Mamang Dai, Easterine Kire Iralu, Mamoni Roisom Goswami, Nirupama Bargohain, Rita Choudhury, Anuradha Sarma Pujari, Arupa Patangia Kalita, Mitra Phukan, Rita Boro, Suniti Narzary, Sudhanya Tripura, Temsula Ao, Desmund L. Kharmawphlang and Esther Syiem have shown keen interest in highlighting these issues in English Literature.
Interested scholars are requested to submit a 250-300 words abstract along with short bio through e-mail as MS Word attachment to Dr. Indu Swami at firstname.lastname@example.org latest by April 30, 2014. The acceptance of abstracts will be notified by 15 May 2014. The deadline for submission of full length unpublished quality papers (3000-7000 words) in the latest MLA style is May 31, 2014. The anthology will be published by a renowned publisher with ISBN.