New Directions in Partition Studies: ECSAS 2025 panel

deadline for submissions: 
July 18, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
ECSAS 2025, Heidelberg
contact email: 

2027 would mark 80 years of the Partition of the Indian subcontinent of 1947. For South Asia, independence from over two centuries of British rule in 1947 was accompanied by a violent and bloody partition - a territorial division of two provinces of British India, Punjab and Bengal  - on the basis of religious majority, which led to a million people dead in bloody communal riots and fifteen million people uprooted and displaced across the newly-formed borders. This cataclysmic bifurcation of British India into India and Pakistan separated by new international borders in 1947, which eventually led to the formation of another nation Bangladesh in 1971, was the pivotal and foundational moment of postcolonial nation-making in South Asia, ushering in paradigmatic shifts in the configurations and ramifications of nation, place, identity, community, state, citizenship, borders, belonging and home for the subcontinent. For the millions of people caught in that historical moment as well as bearing its long-lasting legacies since then, the Partition of 1947 marked a particular epochal moment, (re)organising the foundations of national and cultural identity construction, and political and community formation, which has indelibly shaped the history and national trajectories of the South Asian countries since then.


The Partition of 1947 has by now led to a wide range of scholarship on a diverse spectrum of issues, including, among others, histories of violence, the gendered dimensions of Partition violence and post-Partition nation-making, migration, resettlement and rehabilitation, political and national reorganisation after the Partition, borders and cross-border movement, communities inhabiting interstitial spaces/borderlands, oral histories of Partition witnesses, literature and cinema of the Partition, trauma and memory of the Partition etc. While initial scholarship on the Partition focused overwhelmingly on the Punjab, the earlier lacuna in Partition scholarship surrounding the Bengal Partition has gradually been addressed, especially in the current century.


On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the Partition, this panel for the 28th ECSAS (European Conference for South Asian Studies) 2025 in Heidelberg, Germany, organised by the EASAS (European Association for South Asian Studies, aims to look at new and hitherto under-explored dimensions in Partition studies which would contribute towards new scholarship in the field or revisit/resituate existing scholarship from novel perspectives. Proposals for a 20 minute presentation to be part of the panel are invited. Topics may include but are not limited to:


  • The Partition and material memory
  • Narratives of the non-human in the Partition
  • The environmental/ecological ramifications of the Partition (land, rivers, ecologies, memory)
  • Children’s experiences of the Partition
  • Caste in the Partition
  • Gendered experiences of the Partition not limited to women’s experiences
  • The Partition, health and disease (disease outbreaks during migration, in refugee camps, disease and gender, disease, surgery and amputation as metaphors of the Partition etc.)
  • Sindhi narratives of the Partition
  • Partition narratives/histories from north-east India (Assam, Tripura)
  • Cultural representation of the Partition in newer cultural forms like graphic narrative, OTT platforms
  • The Partition and foodscapes
  • The Partition and cultures of performance
  • Partition museums


Please send abstracts of 300 words and a 150 word bio-note for paper proposals for the panel to by 18 July 2024.


Panel convener: Dr. Antara Chatterjee, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal, India.


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