HomeRejuvenating politics? Student politics and the history of youth’s political selves in South Asia

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Published on Monday, March 05, 2018 by Elsa Zotian

Summary

By drawing attention to the historical formation of both master narratives and counter claims developed by educated youth in the postcolonial period, the panel explores the relevance of campus spaces in the fashioning of political selves. After partition, many scholars regretted that students’ ‘movement’ had given way to sporadic, dispersed ‘agitations’, focused primarily on campus issues. Instead of dismissing group-based demands as ‘parochial’, or looking at students’ dispersion as a problem, this panel proposes to explore the myriad ways in which student politics supported, challenged or re-interpreted mainstream understandings of South Asian societies.

Announcement

Argument

Narratives and counternarratives, understood as “compelling storylines which can explain events convincingly and from which inferences can be drawn” (Freedman 2006:22) are powerful devices to configure individual and collective identities (Ricœur 1991), subject them to grands récits (Bamberg 2004) and strategically ‘win hearts and minds’ (Holtmann 2013).

By drawing attention to the historical formation of both master narratives and counter claims developed by educated youth in the postcolonial period, the panel explores the relevance of campus spaces in the fashioning of political selves. After partition, many scholars regretted that students’ ‘movement’ had given way to sporadic, dispersed ‘agitations’, focused primarily on campus issues. Instead of dismissing group-based demands as ‘parochial’, or looking at students’ dispersion as a problem, this panel proposes to explore the myriad ways in which student politics supported, challenged or re-interpreted mainstream understandings of South Asian societies.

The panel aims at covering the formation of students’ (counter)narratives at crucial historical junctures by including case studies such as the Bengali students’ movement in former East Pakistan (Raghavan 2013) or the revival of the Freedom movement momentum in Bihar during the 1974 JP movement (Carrasco 2014). Second, it ambitions to show how students drew upon pervasive ideological narratives, such as the Maoist discourse in Nepal (Hirslund 2012), anti-blasphemy religious conservatism in Pakistan (Mehmood 2017) or the emergence of a majoritarian stream of democracy in ‘saffron’ India, to formulate their own demands and develop their own narratives. In this way, we aim to show how student politics, located at the intersection between the civic and political spheres (Chatterjee 1998), could both reinforce existing social and political hierarchies as well as provide platforms for an ‘insurrection of the little selves’ (Nigam 2006).

Submission guidelines

We welcome abstract proposals for this panel. Since the deadline for the submission of panel proposals is on 2 April, we request you to send us your abstract proposals

by Friday 16 March.

Conference : October, the 11th 2018

Scientific coordinators

  • Jean-Thomas Martelli (Post-doctoral fellow, CERI, Sciences Po Paris): jeanthomas.martelli@sciencespo.fr
  • Laurence Gautier (Assistant Professor, O.P. Jindal Global University): lmagautier@jgu.edu.in

Places

  • The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club 1 West Dayton Street
    Madison, America

Date(s)

  • Thursday, October 11, 2018

Keywords

  • youth, narratives, student politics, universities, South Asia, social movements, ethnography

Information source

  • Jean-Thomas Martelli
    courriel : jeanthomas [dot] martelli [at] sciencespo [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Rejuvenating politics? Student politics and the history of youth’s political selves in South Asia », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, March 05, 2018, https://calenda.org/435187

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