Friday, January 30, 2009

SHANTINIKETAN, nov. 28-30, 2009

28 – 30 November 2008
MELUS – India (The Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literaturesof the United States, India Chapter) and MELOW (The Society for theStudy of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the World) held their 9thInternational Conference on the theme of "American/World LiteraryTransactions in a Globalised Context: Multi-Ethnicity, Gender, and theMarketplace", recently, from the 28th to the 30th of November 2008.

The venue for this highly topical conference was the Department of English and Other Modern European Languages, Visva-Bharati University,Santiniketan. The conference brought together distinguishedinternational scholars from the United States, Europe, the Middle-Eastand the Far-East as well as distinguished academics from across thelength and breadth of India. This expertly hosted event would not havebeen possible without the generous support of the American Centre, NewDelhi and the USIEF, Kolkata, to whom we owe many thanks. This conference attempted to mark a new heading (a l'autre cap, asDerrida would have phrased it) in questioning the afterlife of thegrand meta-theories of globalising and homogenizing Euro-Americanideologies. It sought to bring together an ensemble of scholarshipfocusing on the complexities of concepts like 'homeland', memory,gender, and market logic both in the American and the world-wideperspective.
In his Key-note Address Prof. Paul Giles, Director of the Rothmere
American Institute at the University of Oxford, outlined the pressingneed to emancipate American Studies from the geo-political concerns ofthe American state. He advocated the committed perusal of AmericanStudies from non-American locations as it would allow the emergence offresh and more objective approaches that would energise the field. In his Presidential Address Prof. Gulshan Kataria lay down thediscursive map for the rest of the conference as he dwelt at length onthe need to probe and question the implicit violence in the tendenciesof global capital, a world in which culture was a free radical tocapital.
A marked feature of this conference, in fact of all MELUS-MELOWconferences to date has been the encouragement provided to youngscholars to show their commitment to American and Global literary andcultural studies, with papers by young scholars included in acompetition for the prestigious Isaac Sequiera Prize. Marked by intense intellectual debate and light-hearted exchangesafter the sessions it was a truly memorable scholarly and human event.Hosted at Rabindranath Tagore's Shantiniketan it was a perfect venuewhere the World came Home to discuss the World.
The Vice-Chancellor of Visva-Bharati inaugurated the Conference withthe traditional lighting of the lamp and a formal address to the delegates. USEIF Kolkata, which extended some fiscal support for theconferences, was represented by Mr Sunrit Mallick.The Conference was spread over three days and fifteen academicsessions. While some of the sessions were plenary, several parallelsessions were also held to accommodate all the speakers.Apart from the academic sessions, several other activities were heldduring these three days. In the inaugural session the Vice-Chancellor released a book edited by GR Kataria and Somdatta Mandal. The book,
published by Prestige, compiled selected papers presented at the 2007Conference in Chandigarh.The first of the Isaac Sequeira Awards went out at Shantiniketan. Awarded to the best paperpresented by a young (under-forty) delegate, it was shared by NamrataSharma and Roshan Sharma.
A small Book Exhibition was held at the Conference Venue and a numberof delegates browsed around the titles and picked up additions fortheir library.
Visva-Bharati is known for Rabindra Sangeet and fine Arts. A vibrantCultural Program was organized by the students. The event also markedthe inauguration of a new Auditorium on the Campus. A sight-seeing-cum-shopping trip on the last day brought the packed three-day affair to aclose.
Future plans of the twin organizations were discussed at length at theGeneral Body Meeting. Among other decisions, the following resolutionswere made:
i The next Conference would be held inChandigarh, tentatively in February 2010.
ii The theme for the Conference was finalized –"MELUS-MELOW Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1980"iii. Deadlines for the coming year were set up – forthe formal conference announcement, submission of abstracts, papers,etc.iv. A Newsletter would be circulated by post (becausenot everyone has access to the net where we post our events).Communication through a Google Group (which had not worked too wellearlier), would be facilitated.
v MELUS-MELOW Office Bearers were elected for thecoming year.
vi Editorial decisions were made regardingpublication of this year's papers. Debasish Lahiri and Himadri Lahiriwould select and edit the papers.
vii It was decided that from now on, in addition tothe Isaac Sequeira Memorial Award, we would have a Special InvitedLecture by a person of eminence. This would be funded by the IsaacSequeira Memorial Fund.
viii Membership fee was revised.

Life Membership is now Rs. 2,000 and
2-year membership is Rs. 500.
All this information along with a more detailed announcement of the next Conference will soon be made available on the website
Members may please note that for certain reasons (mentioned at theconference) it will not be possible to ask the American Center forfunding next year so all prospective delegates should start planningon securing their own travel funds.

THE MELUS-MELOW TEAM, 2008 to 2010:

President: Prof. G. R. Kataria (Pbi U Patiala)
Vice-President: Prof. Tutun Mukherjee (U of Hyderabad)
Secretary: Prof Manju Jaidka (PU, Chandigarh)
Jt. Secy: Dr Somdatta Mandal (Vishwabharati, Shantiniketan)
Treasurer: Prof Anil Raina (PU, Chandigarh)
Executive Members:Prof MG Ramanan (U of Hyderabad)
Prof Sushila Singh (BHU, Varanasi)
Prof Nila Das (Kalyani, WB)
Dr Mukul Sengupta (Calcutta)
Dr Vijay Sharma (Delhi)
Dr RG Kulkarni (Shangli)
Dr Nandini Bhadra (Mumbai)
Dr Sukalpa Bhattacharji (NEHU)
Dr Manpreet Kang (New Delhi)
Dr Meenu Gupta (Chandigarh)
Dr Eami Mathews (Kerala)

Editorial Board: Himadri Lahiri and Debashish Lahiri

Newsletter: Dr. Rajyashri Khushu, Pranav Joshipura, Smita Verghese and Srirupa Chatterjee.

International Advisory Board:
Prof Paul Giles, Oxford University
Prof Amritjit Singh, RIC, Providence, RI, USA.
Prof Lok Chua, California State U, Fresno, USA.
Prof Susan Friedman, U Madison, WI, USA.
Prof Hsiao Kishimoto, Soka University, Japan.
Prof Sharon O'Brien, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, USA.

Patrons:Prof E. Nageswara Rao, Hyderabad
Prof M.L. Raina, Chandigarh

Announcement of Next conference: 1st Feb 2009
Deadline for Receipt of Abstracts: 30th June 2009
Acceptaces to be mailed by: 15th August 2009
Complete Papers and Registration Fee to be received by: 30th Nov. 2009

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