The South Asian Diaspora: Dynamics of Change in American of Comparative Literature Association Conference, Chicago, 16-19 March 2023

deadline for submissions: 
October 27, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Medha Bhattacharyya, PhD

Diaspora ”has broadly come to mean all people who have a particular country of origin but live outside it either due to the 'pull' or 'push' factor. According to James Clifford, the diaspora is a “signifier”, “not simply of transnationality and movement” (1994, 308). At present, “diaspora” goes beyond the context of geographical migrant and marks a departure from the heterosexual identity of a subject. Homi Bhabha refers to the diasporic existence of the third space, a hybrid location (1994) that was contested by Shackleton (2008) whereas Anita Mannur and Pia Sahni talk about creating a ‘critical space’ for critiquing ‘cultural appropriation” (2011).

The goal of this special session is to create a space to understand the problematics of the South Asian Diaspora in the contemporary scenario and to explore the gap areas in this field. This panel aims at re-constructing the category of South Asian Diaspora who leave the ‘origin’ of their forefathers and settle or are born elsewhere. South Asian Diaspora geographically categorizes people whose origin stems from one of the countries of South Asia and live abroad. The sub-theme “dynamics of change” reveals that the category is continually changing. The theme is being explored fully from the angle of Women’s Studies, Gender, Sexuality, Historical and Literary Studies and Discourse Analysis.

The rationale for organizing this session is to erase the misconception that South Asian Diaspora is homogenous, monolithic and casteless. This session attempts to question the construct of South Asian Diaspora and seek newer dynamic definitions to take the scholarship further.