Victorian Indian Identities - A Two-day Symposium at IIT Madras

deadline for submissions: 
May 10, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras

The Two-day Symposium on 'Victorian Indian Identities' to be hosted in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (Chennai, India) on 6 and 7 June 2018, India, seeks fifteen-minute papers to reengage with the notions of identities that are assumed in relation to the idea of the Indian or “native” within the literatures in English produced within India and Great Britain during Queen Victoria’s reign, both prior to and after her assumption of the role of the Empress of India in 1858. Explorations can consider representations of the native feminine and masculine identities as well as that of the native child, which are inflected further by social categories of class, race, religion and colour, in the literary works of the period ranging from writers such as Willkie Collins, Colonel Meadows Taylor, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Henry Derozio, Toru Dutt, and the immensely popular Rudyard Kipling. While it is difficult to escape the theoretical formulations of Edward Said in his Orientalism (1978) in such a project that seeks to understand the configuration of colonial identities, papers that go beyond the occidental and oriental theoretical binary to consider other hermeneutical forays including the postmodern and feminist varieties in making sense of the multitudes of identities surrounding the term Indian or “native” are also especially welcome.

Plenary Lectures (Confirmed Speakers as of now):

  • Associate Professor Chitra Sankaran, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Associate Professor Tamara Silvia Wagner, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Professor Pramod Nayar, Department of English, University of Hyderabad

Possible topics of exploration in the literature of the period written in English in India and Britain in the context of “Victorian India” may include (but is not limited to)

  1. Hegemonic and interstitial identity-formations 
  2. The genre of the colonial novel, memoir, poetry and drawing room scrap-books.
  3. Public and private spaces in Victorian-Indian identity-productions
  4. Gender, dressing and appropriated identities
  5. Performance-anxieties in public identities
  6. Linguistic and epistemic identity-politics
  7. Consumer-identities and the politics of privilege
  8. Medical, legal and pedagogic identity-formations
  9. Sports, game codes and ludic identities

Selected papers from the symposium will potentially be published in an edited collection of articles.

Please send a proposal/ abstract of 250 words and a brief bio of 70 words as Word attachments before 10 May 2018 to


Symposium Convenors:

Dr Divya A:

Dr Avishek Parui:


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