Proposal Deadline: May 2nd, 2018

The Consortium for Asian and African Studies (CAAS) seeks proposals for their Ninth Annual Symposium, taking place October 19-20, 2018 at INALCO in Paris. This years theme is “Minorities Between Globalization and Areal Approaches. [Self]Definitions, Constructions, Realities, Identities and Memories.”

The theme of this year’s conference is a critical questioning about the evolving concept and the diverse and complex realities of “Minorities” in Asia and Africa as well as among migrants from these areas all over the world.

The construction of the concept of “Minority” fits different definitions in terms of international law and it occasionally varied according to places and periods.

It broadly refers to a numerically inferior group with specific ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, political or sexual features—whether claimed by the group itself or imposed by the dominant society—therewith maintaining more or less problematic relationship, marginalization or even discrimination, sometimes embracing violent forms.

But if “Minority” frequently appears as a symbol of otherness, there are often contacts, links and some permeability between the different social and societal components and a Minority may also, at certain moments in History, be acculturated, integrated into the leading group or even assimilated—although a specific identity affirmation eventually re-emerges with the 2nd or the 3rd generations or even much later, through memorial claims that participate in the resurgence of a “subordinates’ culture” (A. Gramsci). Among other issues, the question of “indigenous peoples” is notably relevant.

On the other hand, inferiority in numbers is not always equated to a lower status and there are cases where it comes along a dominant position. In addition, one group may form a Minority in one region and make up a Majority in another one. Both in a national or in a transnational context, “Majority” and “Minority/ies » thus remain intertwined and mutually implicated—between processes of social inclusion and exclusion—despite apparent paradoxes. Then what are their most adequate “definitions”?

With the increasing advent of the idea of “supranationality” and the progress of globalization announcing the decline of the nation-state, but also in the context of a new rise of nationalisms—sometimes aggressive—and identity demands, how does the question of Minorities arise in Asia and in Africa? What situations does the recognition of identity pluralism conduce to? Can any “areal” specificity be distinguished on this point?

Another question: how does the “Minority Law” has evolved, within the framework of the willingness of the international organizations since 1947 to ensure and to protect it?

The issue of Minorities in the context of immigration and the creation of Diaspora groups will be also explored.

Graduate students and faculty of the eight CAAS member universities (Leiden, INALCO, SOAS, NUS, HUFS, Columbia, TUFS, SISU) are invited to submit proposals for papers dealing with these and related questions with regard to Asia, Africa, and their interrelated histories and presents.

All disciplines of Area Studies are welcome, including, History, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Economy, Migrant Studies, Geography, Religious Studies, Literature, Linguistics, Theater and Film Studies as well as multi- and interdisciplinary approaches that combine them.

Papers will be selected based on content and approach. The papers will be grouped by themes, which will be conducted as workshops, with 15-minute presentations by speakers, and as much discussion as possible among participants and audience. The organizers can also accept panel proposals with three or four presentations. Each panel must contain at least one CAAS presenter, but it can include non-CAAS presenters as well.

Papers should be submitted to the organizers by September 15th, 2018 and will be made available to symposium participants.

English is the language of the Symposium, and as in the past eight CAAS Symposia we especially welcome applications from graduate students and post-docs as well as from faculty members.

Application Requirements:

  • For individual applications, applicants should send:
  • A one-page proposal describing the topic and approach of the paper,
  • A brief curriculum vitae of one page maximum
  • For panel proposals, applicants should send:
    • a one-page proposal of the panel,
    • a one-page proposals and curriculum vitae from each presenter.

Proposals should be combined into a single PDF document, which should be sent as an e-mail attachment to anne.grynberg@inalco.fr and to jean-francois.huchet@inalco.fr , with reference to the CAAS Symposium.

The deadline for submission is May 2nd, 2018.

Applicants will be notified of their selection by July 2nd, 2018.

As in earlier CAAS Symposia, travel and accommodation expenses will not be covered by the host institution.

For further information or questions about the Symposium, please contact the INALCO CAAS coordinator, Pr. Anne GRYNBERG : anne.grynberg@inalco.fr