THE 5TH KING'S INDIA INSTITUTE GRADUATE CONFERENCE
31 MAY 2017, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON
The year 2017 marks the 70th year of Indian Independence and 67 years of the Indian Constitution. As India transforms from the largest experiment in democracy in the world to a power to reckon with, there is a loss of its constant state/sense of ‘becoming’ a democratic nation. This is simultaneous to widespread unease and discomfort at the shrinking scope of democratic practice and expression in the country today. We observe a homogenising discourse jostling with other narratives of the nation, providing us with a location from which to examine these interactions and confrontations, and what they signify.
We seek to situate or perhaps to dislocate this urgency of probing the present condition in various narratives of the democratic state. As expression of political being, narratives serve to challenge the assessments of events and actions, they disrupt temporal notions of stability, continuity, crisis and change. At the same time, multiple narratives also present themselves as disparate but enduring totalities and continuities.
With this edition of the King’s India Institute Graduate Conference, we hope to engage with narratives at two levels. Firstly and fundamentally, to seek the unique vantage which narrative/s provide to examine the transformations that have taken place in the seven decades of the social, economic and political life of the nation, and in this light to interrogate its present condition. And secondly, to reflect not just on the significance of narrative as insurgent to homogenising totalities and the violence within them but also as a method in knowledge production.
Do note that we speak here of the broader spheres of the social, economic and political as inclusive of the cultural, artistic and literary spheres. We encourage papers that deal with the artistic and literary either as primary material or as modes of expression and presentation. We invite papers from graduate research students exploring the following themes related to the production and expression of Indian democracy:
- Democracy as a political vs. ethical project: How is the democratic project realised through representation and participation? What is the inter-play of gender, caste, religion, class, etc. in the democracy?
- Constitutional Identity: relevance, crisis and contradiction (explored through concepts such as Secularism, Federalism, Rights/Directive Principles, efficacy of tripartite Legislature/Executive/Judiciary)
- Temporal Constructs: How is democracy constructed through deploying the notions of past, present and future, through invocations of civilizational and historical imperatives, visions for the future, notions of crisis and progress?
- Modes and Materials of constructing democracy: How is democracy shaped in the fields of culture and society? What are its modes and the forms it takes? The electoral process and the negotiations of representation, census and statistics, governmentality and civility, law and public policy, language and public discourse, media and production of knowledge, cultural artefacts and identities, scientific discourse and notions of development.
- Institutions and Institutionalisation: What is the role of State, civil society and other institutions in the experience and production of democracy? How do they affect the State? How do they interact with social and political realities?
- Boundary-making and Spatial Control: How are the limits of the democratic nation invoked through territoriality, morality, disciplining, criminalisation and emerging spaces of the Internet and digital media?
- Conflict and Conflict-resolution: How does the democratic nation resolve conflict? What is the role of institutions and civil society in conflict resolution?
- Condition, possibilities and expressions of democratic practices in everyday life: how are the ideals of the democratic state practised? What are the ways in which these ideals inform society and culture?
- Dissent and Resistance
- How do the market and processes of globalisation affect democracy?
The Graduate Conference offers an opportunity for research students to share their work and receive feedback from eminent academics/experts from various disciplines.
Abstracts of up to 350 words accompanied by 5 keywords and author biography (of no more than 150 words) to be submitted by 15 March 2017 through email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For non-conventional proposals, please send images or other appropriate materials along with your 350-word proposal.
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