International Conference on Ambedkar and Community: Minor Figurations and Comparative Mediations

Organizer: Centre for Comparative Literature & IoE University of Hyderabad

About the Conference

  • When: 17-19 September 2024
  • Call for Papers
  • Registration fee needed

Call for Papers

Singularly remembered for his influential role in authoring the Constitution of India,
Ambedkar’s thinking continues to provoke new thoughts on the normative orders of the social and the state. However, foregrounding the centrality of “community” in understanding the social and the state, this conference invites scholars to rethink Ambedkar as a paradigmatic figure—a writer and a thinker—on community, understood as critical, even conflictual, constellations of affinities and associations.

The idea of such a conference itself was an offshoot of conversations and contestations among a few scholars of Humanities and Social Sciences in Hyderabad, working and worrying “community” from diverse linguistic and gender/caste/religious/tribal
(re)locations as well as from within and across various political and aesthetic
performativities. A pithy and probably belated realisation that though a lot of academic work seems to be blithely happening on “community,” not much still seems to be happening in/to the communities, was the trigger to reach out to other scholars in similar predicaments and whose research also intersects with various community form(ul)ations.

But, indeed, a lot seems to be still happening in/to various caste-tribal communities, then as well as now, regardless of “our” understanding, or lack thereof. Hence, the central question, in a way, would be whether we can ever again re-think the question of community in the wake of, and re-awaken, Ambedkar? For, thinking community is rethinking Ambedkar, in almost every way. And probably vice versa as well. Therefore,
this conference invites scholars and researchers to “closely” re-read Ambedkar as well as juxtapose his thoughts with other figures and figurations from the subcontinent, if only to re-conceive a critical framing of what, how, where, why and when is Ambedkar’s community, and, significantly, also the other way round, today?

As such, even today, this would be to start afresh, to adopt a comparative approach that invites, even enjoins, all of us to co(a)gitate and contribute to, at least, the emerging.scholarship on both “Ambedkar” and “community, ” if only within the Humanities and the Social Sciences, for now. Hence, as an overture, we invite papers/presentations that explore the questions of community vis-a-viz Ambedkar, and vice versa, especially in
relation to the many anti-casteist and religious traditions, movements and writings from across the country that have been generally overlooked by Ambedkar studies.

Firstly, we would like to foreground Ambedkar’s readings of various caste-community subjectivities and sovereignties. If Ambedkar is a spatial scholar and temporal actor who
interconnects communities, did he foreground a community of critique, over the long 20th century, through Buddhism? The conference hopes to generate a differential reading of Ambedkar, as a critical thinker and writer on community of his times, but who is still a monumental, if not a spectral, force for our times.

Secondly, the conference looks forward to engagements of a nuanced and more rigorous comparison of Ambedkar with other resistant or recalcitrant figures of his/our times in order to configure possibilities of mediation from different, although connected, intellectual traditions and histories—not only from the anti-casteist movements in the country, but also through the centrifugal ruptures from northern-southern-western- and-eastern regions of the nationalized-subcontinent. Through the very many figures,
who embodied such digressive imaginaires and discourses, such as Periyar E.V..Ramasamy (1879-1973), Naoria Phulo (1888-1941), Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958), Sahodaran
Ayyapan (1889-1968), and many such others. Ambedkar may also be brought into an unconventional conversation with his contemporaries, such as Marx, Du Bois, Gramsci, Benjamin, and Fanon, and with Tagore, Gandhi, Patel, Jinnah, Nehru and many others.
And lastly, we also would like to focus on the re-presentations of Ambedkar, mediated.through journals, cinema, cartoons and movements across time. We invite scholarly evaluations as well as accounts on the critical figuration of Ambedkar as a communicator and a communicated phenomenon.

Altogether, this conference would primarily revolve around Ambedkar’s many lives in
the imaginations and reconfigurations of communities. And, of course, vice versa. Hence, the conference, at once, attempts to be a timely document and a momentary reflection on the constituted world of/on Ambedkar in the context of an unprecedented amendment to the ideas of imagined political communities.

Dates to Remember:

Those interested should upload the Abstracts of about 600 words to:

Submit Here

If accepted, drafts of full papers should be emailed by 31 August 2024.

  • Paper presenters will be provided local hospitality (including accommodation) & TA as per UoH norms.
  • For others, a token registration fee of Rs. 500/- for faculty and Rs. 300/- for students
  • will ensure limited hospitality, excluding accommodation.

Click Here Register


Jomina George (Scholar, CCL): / 9495295157

Jay Shreeram Dash (Scholar, CCL): / 8249201184

Thahir Jamal (Guest Faculty, CCL): / 9400605696
Dr. Bivitha Easo (Guest Faculty, CCL): / 9441175737
Prof. M.T. Ansari
Centre for Comparative Literature
School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad
Central University P.O., Gachibowli
Hyderabad 500046, Telangana

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