Re-Membering Twentieth-Century Bengal: History, Politics, Aesthetics

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
McGill University

Call for Proposals: Anthology of Essays


Re-Membering Twentieth-Century Bengal: History, Politics, Aesthetics 



Sandeep Banerjee, McGill University

Subho Basu, McGill University


The twentieth-century shaped the ethno-linguistic homeland of Bengal in the most fundamental of ways. Colonized since the mid-eighteenth century, the region was exposed to the depredations of the British until the mid-twentieth century. The retreat of British colonial power in 1947 led to its fragmentation, with “Bengal” now straddling distinct political identities: the nation-state of Bangladesh (East Pakistan, 1947 – 71) and distinct areas of India, most notably the state of West Bengal. The region’s experience of the twentieth-century has been marked by famines, genocide, communal violence, trade unionism, student movements as well as struggles against colonialism, linguistic imperialism, military dictatorship, and proletarianization by the post/colonial states. The Bengali cultural sphere has not only articulated the region’s tumultuous trysts with the “Age of Extremes” but has also sought to provide an aesthetic education about them, not least through creative experimentations across literature, theatre, cinema and other visual arts. 


This collection of essays illuminates the experience of the twentieth-century Bengal in today’s Bangladesh, West Bengal, as well as other Bengali speaking regions of South Asia. It also makes visible how Muslims, Dalits, adivasis, women as well as sections of the Bengali working class and other marginalized groups engaged with the world-historical as well as local socio-economic processes that shaped the region in the last century. The collection is driven by the twin semantic impulse that animate the word remember: it recollectsBengal’s experience of the twentieth century; in assembling narratives from across the various social, political, temporal, and spatial markers of Bengal, it also seeks to reassemblea lost unity while also providing a holistic perspective on the history, politics and culture of the region.  


The editors of the volume are currently soliciting articles for this volume. Proposals are welcome on any aspect of twentieth-century Bengal. The editors are interested, in particular, in articles that address:


  • Narratives of Partition (1905; 1947)
  • The Language Movement
  • The War of Liberation 
  • Literature and film (1950 – 2000)
  • Muslim cultural productions
  • Communist rule in West Bengal
  • Folk cultural forms
  • Environmentalism of the poor
  • Student activism 
  • Islamism and Hindutva
  • Neoliberalism 


Please send abstracts (200 words) and brief bioto the editors by email with “Bengal volume”in the subject line by 15 Mar 2019. Complete essays of about 6,000 – 7,000 words (including references) will be due in October 2019.The editors can be reached at:

Sandeep Banerjee

Subho Basu