Panelist Search Board

If you are seeking additional speakers to join your Panel or Round Table, or if you would like to find other Single Papers with which to create a Panel, you may submit your abstract below so fellow conference attendees can contact you directly regarding your proposal.

Fill Out a Panelist Search Board Request


Name: Carmen Britton (University of Connecticut)
Seeking: Other Single Papers to form a Panel
Title: “Women’s Experiences of Disability and Community-Based Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka”

Name: Ipshita Ghosh
Seeking: Other Single Papers to form a Panel
Title: “Artists of New Capital in Contemporary India”

Over the past few years, India has witnessed heightened investment of private capital in hitherto ‘social’ spaces like healthcare and education. Once deemed the locus of government planning, a new class of venture capitalists, corporate investors, entrepreneurs, and technocratic experts are shaping the politics and cultures of these erstwhile public goods. These changes have been brought about through a series of legislations beginning with the landmark Companies Act 2013 which made India the only nation in the world to legally mandate corporate social responsibility. Building on scholarship on anthropology of humanitarianism and development as well as economic anthropology, this panel examines this emerging set of actors as the artists of new capital in India. Though propped up by discourses of humanitarianism and expertise, the panel examines how these actors are constructed through lenses of charisma and reputation and make use of entrenched social and personal networks, based around caste, class and gender. The larger goal of this panel is to examine how the idea of public good is being reshaped by these new artists who hold tremendous economic and social capital.
This panel brings together scholars working in diverse settings wherein they examine the impacts of new capital in India. Such sites include social start-ups, CSR bodies, private health companies, transnational NGOs among others. Papers can examine how these actors acquire legitimacy and the changes that occur in ideas of healthcare, education, etc. Papers can also focus on the ways in which old social markers (such as class or caste) are reinvented within such spaces. Papers should be grounded in theory that accounts for the neoliberal shaping of these actors and their roles as well as their impact on the idea of public good in contemporary India.

Name: Daniel Dillon
Seeking: Other Single Papers to form a Panel, Seeking a Panel to join
Title: Ain’t I a Man? On the Intersections of Gender at a Jaffna Auto Stand

“Ain’t I am man!?” Razwi exclaimed in frustration one day at the railway station rickshaw stand in Jaffna. “I am not a bomb! Not a terrorist!” he continued. The subsequent conversation among drivers, sitting in the open space of the rickshaw stand just outside, was an insightful, pained examination of their marginalization as low-caste, low-class (and in Razwi’s case Muslim) young Tamil men in postwar Jaffna, a town much altered by the history of Sri Lanka’s 35-year civil war.

Drawing on 12 months of ethnographic research conducted in 2016 and 2018, I argue that these men are conscious of the many misperceptions of them and endeavor to manage, and in some cases counter, these stereotypes. At the core of these efforts are common notions of global and Tamil manliness that drivers attempt to leverage toward greater respectability and, therefore, economic opportunity. These performances of respectable masculinity are both embodied in their physical beings and inscribed on their rickshaws.

My paper examines these attempts to marshal masculinity, arguing that while drivers are keenly attuned to the affective and political contours of the postwar moment they are equally trapped within these moments and performances, unable to realize their respectable masculine selves.

Name: Sagnika Chanda
Seeking: Panel
Title: Artistry in Genre: South Asian Literature and Film

Our panel theme focuses on the role of artistic worldbuilding in genre fiction. This panel hopes to examine the theme of artistry in popular genre in literature and film, such as fantasy, horror, detective, graphic novels, children’s literature, magical realism etc. in literature and film. How does genre create worlds and engage in world building within and in relation to contemporary social realities in South Asia while contributing to the reception and creation of multiple meanings through such world building? Papers should examine some facet of artistry in narrative world building and be grounded in robust theoretical approaches to reading genre. We are looking for 2 papers to complement 2 papers on South Asian science fiction. Please send your abstracts to Anwesha Maity ( and Sagnika Chanda (

Name: Jaclyn Michael
Seeking: Panel
Title: Lucknow from Diverse Perspectives

I am organizing a panel focused on the city, people, and history of Lucknow broadly. The goal is to incorporate diverse methodologies as well as diversity in the panel participants. Especially seeking participants working on topics outside of religion. Email with questions.

Name: Amrita De
Seeking: Panel
Title: Marking Heteronormative Masculinity: Possible Directions to Theorize Neoliberal, Visual, Literary, Digital Representations of Indian Men

Most historical records from South reveal a disproportionate emphasis on the actions of men—rendering them as the default stable center from which events have been viewed. Feminist scholarship has responded by foregrounding the voices of women participants. Yet, as Mrinalini Sinha points out, “It soon became apparent, however, that in many ways it is men who have no history.” Responding to this theoretical lack, this panel seeks proposals that aim to critically examine as well as interrogate the construction of masculinities under a postcolonial, neoliberal framework. References to ‘neoliberalism’ and the ‘postcolonial’ in this panel do not simply suggest an examination of contemporary and historical moments that have shaped power-networks. They refer to the specific political, economic, social, and cultural circumstances which shape gender relationships, at the level of everyday practice and representation. This panel also explore the relationship of masculinity to femininity and masculinity as an aspect of relationships between men. Several literary texts (literature, movies, films, videos, graphic novels) position women as an important vantage point, from which the male character imagines, produces, and ultimately transforms himself. This appears to be a more complex process than simply the cultivation of opposing gender roles. I call for an examination of the habitus (Bourdieu,1996) of the male homosocial space, alongside a space that is occupied by both men and women. In other words, what can be regarded as the “structuring structure” that produces masculinities in a neoliberal space. Towards this end, I seek papers that can effectively interrogate literary, visual and digital constructions of heteronormative Indian masculinities. Email 300 word abstracts to by 28th March.

Name: Huma Ahmed-Ghosh
Seeking: Panel
Title: Communal Marginalization, Displacement, and Citizenship in South Asia/India

This panel brings different perspectives to bear on a discussion of contemporary India and the normalization of communal violence and identities. The panelists will bring different methodological perspectives, including ethnographic, historical and theoretical in order to understand the profound shift in India’s imagination of itself from a secular state to a mono-religious and intolerant nation. The banality of communal violence and social marginalization has also produced resistance and a hardening of religious and ethnic identities which is evident in daily lives of all Indian citizens.

Name: Susmita Das
Seeking: Panel, RoundTable
Title: Indian Advertising: Industry, Institution, Practice

I am looking for a panel or a roundtable to form/join whose central focus will be on asking what constitutes the advertising industry/ institution/practice in the Global South and what might its historical figurations, continuities, and ruptures be with/within the global advertising industry. Broadly speaking, advertising in India has been studied in the context of globalization, consumerism, and society at large where close readings of ads and their powers of signification have been foregrounded. This panel/roundtable is more interested in the study of Advertising as an institution/industry, its political economy, its various cultural and knowledge practices and/or the many auxiliary and artistic industries (formal or informal) that are bound up with and constitute the larger advertising industry in India, such as, but not limited to, the following: commercial art, illustration, calligraphy, print-making, photography, ad-films, industrial films, and sound.

200-300 word abstracts that dwell upon the following questions are welcome:

In what ways can advertising in India be periodized? What might a postcolonial lens offer in terms of historicizing the emergence of the cultural institution as that of advertising the Global South? How might these histories coincide with or break away from histories of advertising written in the Global North? What methodologies and conceptual frameworks do we have to study the institutional forms of advertising in the Indian subcontinent (including Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal)? What theories or epistemologies might help understand advertising in India in relation to the global advertising industry, historically and/or in the contemporary moment? If the American Dream has been the central preoccupation with global advertising at large, what is the idiom of Indian advertising, or more broadly advertising in the non-Western postcolony? What has been the advertising industry’s relationship with film, radio, journalism, and television historically in India in terms of its political economy? What are the ways in which labor, employment, education, and training are organized around class, caste, gender, race, and sexuality in the advertising industry as well as advertised representations of these categories?

Name: Amogh Dhar Sharma
Seeking: Panel, Other Single Papers to form a Panel
Title: Changing Election Champaigns in South Asia

In recent years, election campaigns in South Asia (as elsewhere) have displayed considerable dynamism. This on-going change is captured by the role played by digital media in political propaganda, the entry of new actors in the electoral process, and new modus operandi in the organisation of campaign events and voter outreach.

I am looking for other papers/looking to join a panel that explore the changing nature of election campaigns and electoral mobilisation in South Asia. My own research focuses on India’s election campaigns and the growing role of campaign professions such as political consultants, pollsters, ‘spin-doctors’ and the work performed by them behind-the-scenes.

Name: Kamlesh Mohan
Seeking: Other Single Papers to form a Panel
Title: Embroidering dreams, conversing with nature and folk-culture: Women’s artistry in Phulkari in colonial Punjab

I wish to delineate the role of gendered work i.e. Phulkari , a form of colorful embroidery on hand-spun cloth , in relegating women to domestic space and leaving men to dominate the fields and other public activities. The British colonial ethnographers imposed their perception of feminine identity through the lens of their own folk-lore on the Punjabi society whose male members were required to fight the imperialist battles in foreign lands for bolstering the image of the Raj. Punjabi women’s artistry was exploited for commercial advantage in international market. Of more significance is the sense of fulfillment for women whose tryst with flowers, plants, animals, birds and objects of daily use enabled them to give outlet to their creative imagination.Finally, I propose to highlight the role of oral tradition in the transmission of techniques,patterns, motifs and the needle lore. Please include my paper in the panel on the formation of gender- identities or other relevant panel.