India Beyond Museumised Identities: The Radicalization of Politics, Memory and Gender

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Subhadeep Paul, Assistant Professor, Department of English, School of Literature, Language & Cultural Studies, Bankura University.
contact email: 

In terms of a national frame and a geo-political collective, India has been a witness to multiple psychotraumatological contextualities of volatile historical and political upheavals and ruptures. Prominent among these past and present occasions/sites may be (but not limited to) the following: The Great Bengal Famine of 1943; the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent and the Bengal Partition; the Emergency Period (1975-77); the exodus and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from 1989 onward; the bloody aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition of 1992; the Indo-Pak wars (after Independence, 1965, 1971, and 1999); the anti-Sikh riots following Operation Bluestar of 1984 and the subsequent assassination of PM Indira Gandhi; endemic terrorist insurgencies and counter-insurgencies (viz. 1993 Bombay bomb blasts, 2001 storming of the Indian Parliament by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, the 2008 Mumbai Taj Hotel shootouts, the operations of secessionist factions and demands for autonomous break-away from the Union of India, viz Khalistan, Bodoland, Gorkhaland et al), escalation of communal homicide, viz. the 2002 Godhra Tragedy, and citizenship-related fallouts and fiascoes, viz. the 2015 Indo-Bangladesh exchange of enclaves and the more recent NRC-CAA-CPC debates and clashes. These existing issues aside, India has been severely plagued by climate catastrophes (such as the deadly glacier collapse in February 2021 at Chamouli; cyclones Tauktae, Yaas, Amphan, Aila, and several others that caused incalculable post storm-surge casualties and impairment since the notorious Bhola Cyclone of 1970. Death, displacement and devastation caused by unchecked floods, droughts, landslides, increased salinity of arable lands and erosion of marshlands, mangroves and wetlands have destabilised sustainable lives and victimised the citizenry on a multi-polar scale of precarity. Seventy years after independence and with increased neoliberal embracement of western notions of modernity, we have experienced ecological catastrophes and social suicides on a heterogenous plane.

As early as in 1922, Tagore had warned in the essay Robbery of the Soil about the perils of a consumerist and exploitative model of economic development that is unsustainable on several counts. This volume seeks to interrogate how such tumultuous spatio-temporal jerks influenced the theorization and narrativization of individual (yet in many ways, shared) histories of oppression and “group trauma” exposures. This volume seeks to scrutinize those generic cases where the public configuration of endemic disenfranchisement with the socio-political moorings have led to individual and familial distress, in continuation with past causal variables – all of which demand representational status across trans/inter-/multi/cross-generational frontiers (Bar-On et al., 1998; Kellerman, 2001b). It also seeks to analyse cross-generational periodicity, timelines and trajectories of systematic meta-analyses, to ascertain the diverse empirical literature and assessable data by which a proper cognitive transformation can be initiated to direct a critical focus on the development and impact of present-day representations of traumatic memory and its impact on identity construction and their connections to the source problems. Trauma becomes all the more perilous, when after a post-conflict lull, there is a sudden relapse into a extensive violence, where the absence of peace and sustainability become typological of such milieus, especially in postcolonial societies. The propriety of State memory and the privatised resistance to the same may escalate in vandalism, arson, and what Patrick Pinkerton defines as “resistance to memorialisation”

Keeping the afore-mentioned ideas in mind, discerning contributions are invited on papers that would conform to the following sub-sections, though by no means exclusively limited to them only:

• Historical trauma represented in Indian cultural texts

• Ruptures in Indian historiography: Critical remedies

• Theories/Narratives of shared histories of oppression within the loci of the subcontinent

• Ethico-medical aspects of traumatism in the Indian context

• Trauma Studies and Memory Studies in the Indian context: Interfaces

• Gender Trauma: Readings and Misreadings


Abstracts (alongside five relevant keywords and a recent bio-note within 250 words) must be mailed to Based on a double-blind peer review, contributors of selected abstracts will be notified to submit full papers in the latest edition of the Chicago Manual Stylesheet, in around 6000 words, having a relevant Bibliography and Endnotes.