Center for South Asian Studies | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


Monday, October 29, 2012

30th Annual Spring Symposium, “Sensing South Asia” – Call for Papers

The Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa invites paper and panel proposals on aspects related to its 30th Annual Spring Symposium

“Sensing South Asia”

Conference Dates: April 17-19, 2013, in Honolulu, Hawai’i

Deadline to submit proposals: January 15th, 2013

What happens when we approach social and natural worlds, the body, and affect through the senses?  How do disciplinary and interdisciplinary understandings of South Asia change if we consider that what and how we feel, hear, taste, smell, touch, see, and intuit are culturally and historically mediated?  The symposium invites scholars, artists, and practitioners to engage with the senses as portals to time, place, and social, cultural, and natural processes in South Asia.  We are particularly interested in research grounded in sensory relations and intersensory modalities that can generate new questions for various disciplines.  In this symposium, we want to explore what South Asian societies — and their histories, philosophies, everyday rituals and practices, and political economies — can offer to emerging theories and methods in sensory studies.  Participants are encouraged to perform or use new media as part of their presentations.

 The presentations could cover topics and themes such as:

  • Tactile, olfactory, and aural worlds; noise
  • Senses and the everyday
  • Sensory deprivation and overload
  • Sensory illusions

And, sensory aspects of:

  •  Caste
  • Asceticism
  • Ecstasy
  • Anxiety, pain, and trauma
  • Memory
  • Diasporas and belonging
  • Medicine and healing
  • Production and consumption
  • Technology, film-making, and marketing
  • Space, architecture, and design
  • Colonialism
  • National imaginaries, partition, war, civil unrest, displacement

Our panels will be anchored by keynotes delivered by the following distinguished scholars:

Robert Desjarlais, Anthropology, Sarah Lawrence College, and author of Sensory Biographies: Lives and Deaths among Nepal’s Yolmo Buddhists (University of California, 2003).  He is completing another book entitled, “Subject to Death: Life, Loss, and Mourning among Nepal’s Yolmo Buddhists.”

Uttara Asha Coorlawala, Dance, Ailey School and Barnard College, and is author of “It matters for whom you dance” in Dance Matters: Performing India on Local and Global Stages (Routledge, 2010).  She has published numerous journal articles theorizing embodiment, performance and experience in relation to culture. 

Nayanika Mookherjee, Anthropology, Durham University, author of The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence and Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971 (Duke University Press, Forthcoming).  She has published extensively in edited collections and in journals on the anthropology of violence, memory, the state and nation, ethics, and aesthetics.

Please send 200-word abstracts for individual papers by email to If proposing an entire panel, please also include a paragraph-length rationale and a proposed title for the panel. A limited amount of free lodging will be available to participants.

CSAS Home Page University of Hawai‘i at Manoa website Facebook Page Twitter Page RSS Feed