CFP: 9th International Conference on Literary Theory (India) (8/1/06; 12/17/06-12/20/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Sura Rath
contact email: 

Centre for Contemporary Theory
301-302 Shiv Shakti Complex
84 Sampatrao Colony
R.C. Dutt Road, Vadodara 390007 INDIA
Tel: 265.552.2512, email:;

The Ninth International Conference
"Knowledge-Systems in a Climate of Creativity: Indian
17-20 December 2006
Venue: Hotel Lakend, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Thematic Outline
The ninth international conference of the Forum on Contemporary Theory
will be held in Udaipur, Rajasthan during 17-20 December 2006 in
collaboration with Vidya Bhawan Rural Institute, Udaipur. The theme of
the conference, "Knowledge-Systems in a Climate of Creativity: Indian
Perspectives," continues the ongoing interventions of the Forum in the
epistemic battle of ideas, with a focus here on fruitful filiations
between conceptual thinking and creative expressions. Cultural history
of India is marked by numerous formulations and contestations of systems
of knowledge. Well-argued and rigorous, the debates on these
knowledge-systems provided a space for a variety of creative
expressions. Endeavors in the fields of literature and the other arts,
physical and social sciences, cosmology and psychology, health sciences
and technologies are embedded into these knowledge systems and derive
their dynamics from their mutual discourses and debates. Broadly
speaking, the ancient Indian worldview was dominated by three schools of
thought continually interacting with one another: the Vedic; the
Buddhist; and the Jain. An exponent of Indian materialism, the Lokayata
Charvakas provided yet another conceptual position, which seems to cut
across these three modes of knowledge. But the debates and
contestations were not confined between the systems; even within each
system there were internal debates and contradictions, ranging from
Samkhya and Nyaya to Pratyabhijna and (kevala and shuddha) Advaita, to
mention a few. The strength of the Indian knowledge-systems lies in
such external and internal debates.

Such debates were incredibly productive in directing the Indian mind
toward fresh explorations of attitudes leading to a possible synthesis
of various modes of knowledge exemplified later in the expressions of
the Bhakti and Sufi poets in the medieval period. The contact with the
Persian and Arabic world and later with the West further intensified the
debates and added new dimensions to the Indians' creative thinking and
expression. The struggle for independence, nurtured by the strength of
the ideological debates among the freedom fighters, could be considered
as a logical extension of India's long tradition of contestations and
accommodations. The impact of Gandhi's ideas of freedom on the Indian
psyche has to be understood in the light of such a tradition. It was
Gandhi, who in his inimitable style of creative vacillation about some
of the sensitive issues of the time, tried to capture the need for such
a healthy debate of ideas without a longing to either relapse into a
so-called pre-lapsarian world of the golden past or to exchange the
legacies of the past for the seductive promises of Western modernity. It
is possible to trace in Gandhi's dialectical modes of perception of
the world the logical offshoot of India's long tradition of debates
with itself.

Papers mostly of conceptual nature, supported by textual examples are
welcome. Mere textual analysis without any broad framework will not be

Special Sessions
(a) In conformity with our earlier convention, a special panel on a
regional text will be one of the highlights of the conference. This
year's choice for the panel is M. K. Gandhi's Hind Swaraj (1908).
Hind Swaraj, written originally in Gujarati in the form of a dialogue
during a voyage in the sea, captures the mood of the times when India
was debating several options for realizing its goals for independence.
While he contests some seemingly bold and extreme positions taken by
several of his contemporary freedom-fighters, Gandhi offers a critique
of Western modernism before presenting what he thought to be an
appropriately viable model for what the country could look for in the
context of its struggle for self-government and socio-economic
independence. His ideas are still valid today at a time when Indian
politics is vitiated by sectarianism and narrowness; (b) another special
session will be devoted to the examination of "The State of the
Disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences," throwing light on
the changes that have come to each discipline and what such changes mean
for the future of the disciplines.

Submission Deadline
A 500-Word abstract or proposal is due by August 1, 2006. Complete
papers should be limited to 12 pages (approximately 15 minutes of
reading time). A longer version may be submitted for possible
publication in the Journal of Contemporary Thought, brought out by the
Forum, or in the conference volume. The completed paper should reach
the Convener of the Forum by October 30, 2006.

Conference Volume
Select papers from the conference and from those submitted in response
to the "Call for Papers" will be included in the conference volume,
which will be ready for its formal release at the next conference of the
Forum. Completed papers should reach us as email attachments by the end
of June 2007. For enquiries about the stylistic prescription, please get
in touch with the editors of the volume. The names of the editors will
be announced at the Open Session of the conference.
Registration Deadline
August 31, 2006 is the deadline for receiving the registration fee. All
participants need to be pre-registered.

1. Participant from India (member of the Forum)
2. Participant from India (non-member)
3. Overseas Participant (non-SAARC countries) US
4. Overseas Participant (SAARC countries)
US $125/
5. Local Participant (member of the Forum)
6. Local Participant (non-member)
7. Student Participant (from Udaipur)

The registration fee will cover room and board from the afternoon of
the 16th to the morning of the 21st December and cost of the volume
dedicated to the 8th International Conference of Forum held in
Mangalore. The fee from the local participants will cover lunch,
conference tea, and the cost of the conference volume. The fee must be
paid through a bank draft payable to Forum on Contemporary Theory on a
bank in Baroda.

Conference Venue: The conference will be held at the Hotel Lakend,
facing the picturesque Fateh Sagar Lake, located at Alkapuri in Udaipur
(Tel: 294.243.1400; 294.243.1405; email: ).
Most of the outstation participants will be staying in this hotel. The
participants should arrive in the afternoon of December 16 and stay on
until the morning of December 21 to make the full use of the facilities
offered by the hotel. The conference will begin at about 9 am on the
18th and will be over at dinner on the 20th December.

Sightseeing Tours
17 December is reserved for local sightseeing. Those who wish to avail
themselves of this tour will have to pay an extra amount to be
determined by the local hosts. The amount may not exceed Rs. 400/ per
person. The tour will include a visit to the famous Jain Temple at
Ranakpur and to Jai Samand Lake, claimed to be the largest man-made lake
in Asia, constructed in the year 1641 by Maharana Jai Singh.

Udaipur, the erstwhile capital of the Mewar State, one of the most
beautiful cities of Rajasthan, is full of palaces, lakes and gardens. It
is surrounded by lovely hills from the Aravali range. It is connected by
train to Delhi and Ahmedabad, by air to Delhi and Mumbai, and buses to
many neighboring cities. One can visit Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranakpur Jain
Temple, Srinathji Temple, Eklingji Temple and Chittor Fort from Udaipur.

Temperature in December
In mid-December the daytime temperature in Udaipur will be around 200C
(680F); the nighttime temperature around 50C (410F). So the participants
are advised to carry necessary warm clothes.

Collaborating Institution
 Vidya Bhawan Rural Institute, which is collaborating with the Forum in
hosting the conference, is an integral part of Vidya Bhawan Society,
founded by the distinguished educationist Dr. Mohan Singh Mehta in 1931.
The institutions functioning under this Society have been imparting
innovative education at various levels combining theoretical knowledge
with practical training. The conference coincides with its diamond
jubilee celebrations.

For further information, any of the following may be contacted:

Prafulla C. Kar
Convener, Forum on Contemporary Theory
Tel: (0265) 5522512 (office); 233 8067 (residence)
Sitanshu Yashaschandra
Convener of the Conference
Tel: 9228187436; email:

G. M. Mehta
Director, Vidya Bhawan Rural Institute
Local Coordinator
Badgaon Road, Udaipur 313 001
Tel: (0294) 2450403 and 2453088 (office); 24111 118 (residence);

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Received on Fri Feb 24 2006 - 11:28:02 EST