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[event] Institute of Advanced Communication, Education, and Research (IACER)

Posted 21 Nov, 2012
(Affiliated to Pokhara University)
Baneshwor Heights, Kathmandu

Telephone: 009771-4471915


South Asian Cultural Studies
In Conversation with

South Asia, a conglomeration of nations and cultures with multiple similarities, differences, fissures, intervals, and continuities, is a participatory and contested space. As such this location not only engages with the global production of knowledge by discoursing ideas from multiple directions, both from inside and outside of the region, but also generates contradictions and contestations. These contradictions and contestation can be further visualized, on the one hand, by examining the unreliable cartographic imagination of districts, provinces, and states, and, on the other hand, by questioning the homogenous/heterogeneous religious beliefs to highly debatable economic aspirations.

Keeping these characteristics in view, the Institute of Advanced Communication, Education, and Research (IACER) has planned a two-week seminar/workshop (April 2-16, 2013) on South Asian Cultural Studies (SACS) to initiate debates and discussions on multiple and complex issues to critique the region. Prof. Ashis Nandy has agreed to lead the seminar/workshop. Other scholars from Nepal and outside will join him to deliberate on the issues.

Cultural Studies in South Asia can be conceptualized from two differing perspectives: first, primarily from postcolonial stands; second, without adopting a postcolonial position. Furthermore, conceiving a disciplinary area called Cultural Studies in South Asia raises other pertinent questions: How do we study South Asia as an interdisciplinary location of knowledge? What are the contestations, similarities and dissimilarities involved in a study of a region? What may be the pressing themes of Cultural Studies in the recent times? How can South Asian Cultural Studies be appropriated and contextualized considering the courses on Cultural Studies taught at different universities? How can visual culture be an additional method to understand the thematic complexities involved in Cultural Studies in South Asia? And a host of other questions clamoring for attention.

To critique these questions and initiate possible solutions and further debates, we intend to reflect upon the writings of Prof. Ashis Nandy, a foremost intellectual of the contemporary times. We plan to begin with discussions on his ideas and issues contemplated in his works in order to define a methodology to conceptualize South Asian Cultural Studies.

The seminar/workshop will broadly focus on

  1. The methodological implications of Cultural Studies in South Asian Studies;
  2. Prof Nandy's discourses on cultural studies issues;
  3. The study of visual cultures in South Asia.

Selections from Ashis Nandy's Works:

SACS will focus, among others, on three notables to structure the contents from the works of Nandy. They are "Underlying Social Structures," "Hegemonic Structures," and "Discursive Nexus." "Underlying Social Structures" includes issues like violence, gender, games, rural and heterotopias; "Hegemonic Structures" includes politics, religion, and nationalism which are instrumental in shaping consensual and conflicting voices among peoples and nations of South Asia; and "Discursive Nexus," postulates that South Asian culture can be studied as being critiqued and oriented by a wide variety of discourses like modernities, postcolonialism, globalization, cosmopolitanism, and psychology. Consequently, a fourth section will focus on how South Asia, or any region for that matter, is not a region with cartographic rigidity but cultural fluidity. The essays included in this part focus on the issues of connectivities, discontinuities, similarities, and differences.


Underlying Structures

"The Invisible Holocaust and the Journey as an Exodus: The Poisoned Village and the Stranger City" (AJ) from A Very Popular Exile: The Tao of Cricket (TC); An Ambiguous Journey to the City (AJ); Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias (TTU)

"Telling the Story of Communal Conflicts in South Asia: Interim Report on a Personal Search for Defining Myths" (Time Treks)

"Violence and Creativity in the late Twentieth Century" (Time Warps)

"Sati in Kali Yuga: The Public Debate on Roop Kanwar's Death" (The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves)

"The City of the Mind: The Darkness and the Shadows" (Time Treks)

"On Games of Destiny and the Destiny of Games" (TC)

Hegemonic Structures

"Culture, State and the Rediscovery of Indian Politics" (Bonfire of Creeds)

"Politics of Secularism and the Recovery of Religious Tolerance" (Time Warps)

"Twilight of Certitudes: Secularism, Hindu Nationalism and Other Masks of Deculturation" (Bonfire of Creeds)

"The Illegitimacy of Nationalism: Rabindranath Tagore and the Politics of Self" (Bonfire of Creeds)

"Culture, Voice and Development: A Primer for the Unsuspecting" (Bonfire of Creeds)

"Is India a Postmodern Culture?" (Talking India)

Discursive Nexus

"The Twentieth Century: The Ambivalent Homecoming of Homo psychologicus" (Time Treks)

"Towards an Alternative Politics of Psychology" (Time Treks)

"Adorno in India: Revisiting the Psychology of Fascism" (Exiled at Home)

"The Savage Freud: The first non-western Psychoanalyst and the Politics of Secret Selves in Colonial India" (Bonfire of Creeds)

"A Report on the Present States of Health of the Gods and Goddesses in South Asia" (Time Warps)

"Cultural Frames for Social Transformation: A Credo" (Bonfire of Creeds)

"THE UNCOLONIZED MIND: A Post-Colonial View of India and the West" (The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism)

"History's Forgotten Doubles."Pdf in net


"Evaluating Utopias: Considerations for a Dialogue of Cultures and Faiths" (TTU)

"Towards a Third World Utopia" (TTU)

"Shamans, Savages and the Wilderness: On the Audibility of Dissent and the Future of Civilizations" (Time Treks)


Reading materials: We will send the hard and soft copies of the reading materials to the participants on the 4th week of December. The participants are expected to read the materials and bring them with them for the seminar/workshop in Kathmandu.

Registration Fees

Registration fee: INR 12, 000 (USD 300 for non-SAARC participants), Inclusive of local hospitality and conference materials.

Number of Participants (first-come first-serve basis): 20

For Further Information, Contact
Arun Gupto (Ph.D.)
Academic Director
Telephone: 00977-9841476911 (available: 08.00 12.00 A.M., 07 11.00 P.M.)



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