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30.07.2018 14:30 Alter: 57 days


Call for Papers

Theme: Borders
Subtitle: Real and Imagined
Type: 2018 Sri Lanka Graduate Student Conference
Institution: South Asia
Program, Cornell University
Location: Ithaca, NY (USA)
Date: 9.–10.11.2018
Deadline: 17.9.2018

The 2018 Sri Lanka Graduate Conference will be held on November 9-10
at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The conference is hosted
by Cornell’s South Asia Program, and co-sponsored by the American
Institute for Sri Lanka Studies. As in years prior, this workshop
will bring together graduate students in both the final writing-up
stage and pre-research/planning stages from a variety of disciplines
and institutions. The graduate conference aims to enhance
intellectual exchange on Sri Lanka, emphasize the production of
empirical and non-sectarian knowledge, focus attention on recent
potential transformation of key concepts, build a new cohort of
researchers (and research) across disciplines and institutions, and
strengthen relationships between American graduate students and local
intellectual circles in Sri Lanka. We invite students from all
disciplines to participate.

The objective of this conference is to map the ways in which borders
manifest as physical and conceptual frameworks for dictating social,
cultural, and economic divisions. Often we hear of the borders that
divide physical spaces, such as North and South, or of the real and
imagined borders that seek to define the nation-state. Conceptually,
borders provide a framework for discussing notions such as ethnicity,
race, class, caste, and gender. But in both their physical and
conceptual iterations, the act of delineating borders often inhibits
fluidity within and outside of these divisions. We invite papers that
address these complexities. Questions might include: how do borders
dictate questions of belonging? How do they dictate distinctions
between the local vs. the global, homeland and diaspora, colonial and

We also encourage papers that reflect on how the discussion of
borders in the field of Sri Lanka Studies intersects with
conversations outside the field. This question is particularly
relevant to transnational studies and diaspora studies, where the
movement across borders takes on additional significance through a
comparative lens. In this point, we are particularly conscious of the
location of the Sri Lanka Graduate Student Conference in the US, now
in its ninth year, where the discussion of borders is in dialogue
with indigenous studies, decolonial theory, and the current political
crises at the US border and around the world. We seek to draw from
this context as an opportunity for self-reflection on our positions
as researchers, and how borders — real or imagined, physical or
conceptual — manifest in our own work. Given that participants in the
conference come from different identities, border-crossings,
disciplines, and research backgrounds, we hope to think through these
ideas collectively, and from varying positionalities, to trace
potential lines of influence, crossover, and affiliation.

The conference takes place over two days. On Friday November 9, a
small, closed pre-dissertation development workshop will be held for
four to six students who are working on their research proposals,
with several faculty mentors from Cornell and elsewhere. On Saturday
November 10, the conference will consist of several panels of paper
presentations from advanced graduate students, with Cornell faculty
discussants, which will be open to the public.

We would like to invite three categories of potential participants to
submit proposals to by Monday September 17. Advanced
graduate students may submit individual paper proposals for
Saturday’s panels. Proposals should include a title and 300-word
abstract, as well as a brief CV indicating institutional affiliation,
degrees earned, current address, and any notable publications and/or

Pre-research students in Masters or PhD programs may apply for the
Friday pre-dissertation development workshop. These proposals should
include a 300-500 word description of your research interests and
plan. Please also include a one-page CV indicating institutional
affiliation, degrees earned, current address, and any other relevant
information. Graduate students at any stage of their studies, who
wish to participate in the conference without presenting may send
brief expressions of their interest, noting how this conference would
be beneficial to your graduate studies. Please also include a
one-page CV indicating institutional affiliation, degrees earned,
current address, and any other relevant information. We have limited
funding for travel and accommodations for participants of all three
varieties. Please let us know if you are unable to access funding
from your department or university.

Please send proposals as PDF or Word attachments, with “Sri Lanka
Graduate Student Conference” in the subject line, to the South Asia
Program at by Monday September 17. Inquiries prior to
that date are most welcome. Please indicate the category of your
proposal in your email.


Daniel Bass, Manager
South Asia Program
Cornell University
170E Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
Phone: +1 607 255-8923
Fax:   +1 607 254-5000