Online Conference on Borders and Conflicts in Cinema(s)

Organizer: Association of Film Studies in South Asia -(AFSSA Conference Announcement

About the Conference

  • When: November 4 – 6, 2022
  • Call for Abstracts

The recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine has prompted several discussions and questions around borders, wars, race, migration, and the nature of conflict in contemporary media and society. As we witness an invasion mediated through technology and social media, it becomes imperative to understand the relationship between the moving images, borders and conflict. As populations mix with increasing globalization and movement, so have displaced populations and refugees been on the rise. However, boundaries between nations and people need not be looked at as fixed lines but as a process. These are produced and reproduced but also subverted and destabilized (Renata Summa, 2021)

Within South Asia, borders have been an issue of contention and conflict. The Partition of British India in 1947 resulted in drawing new borders and making new nation-states, which has played a pivotal role in influencing politics and conflicts in the region. Thus, Partition is
understood as a process and not just an event. Many creative expressions have been given to the Partition in the form of drama, poetry, novels and films. Besides, alternative sources such as personal diaries, letters, memoirs or oral sources have contributed to the understanding of Partition. It continues to perpetuate an intergenerational trauma till the contemporary moment, imagined and re-imagined. As cinema has increasingly relied on literature in representing the experiences of Partition (Manoj Sharma, 2009), film adaptation becomes an important source to understand how Partition is understood across time and space. Oral, literary and film narratives on Partition narrate the trauma and also question the two-nation theory. While cinema offers a community the imagination of a nation, it also becomes the medium where the ideas of a nation are debated and contested. Cinema narrates nation(s), represents landscapes, frames borders and
also transcends them.

Cinema has always been transnational and even though the definition of transnational cinema is variable across scholarship. Transnationalism itself preceded the idea of ‘nation’ before the advent of communication technologies and increased mobility. Stuart Hall (1990) suggests that the condition of diaspora and transnationalism construct malleable identities instead of fixed/stable/unitary ones. Ella Shohat and Robert Stam in their edited volume, Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media (2003), discuss the issues of race, nation, gender and other identities in a postcolonial, transnational, globalized world. Globalization, border-crossing, and migration have fostered transnational identities, collaborative film productions and global film distribution (Steven Rawle, 2018). Mehdi Charef’s Daughter of Keltoum (2001) and Sabiha Sumar’s Khamosh Pani (2003) are examples of transnational cinema that destabilize the
conventional understanding of borders. Besides visible international borders that demarcate countries, there are invisible borders that divide a society internally. Discrimination on the basis of caste, gender, class, religion, ethnicity, or race in a society construct invisible borders.

The third AFSSA conference (online) focuses on the relationship between cinema, borders and conflicts. The conference is particularly interested in examining the role played by cinema in delineating, influencing, determining, and changing our understanding of all kinds of borders. The attempt shall be to engage with the following issues: what borders stand for; how borders are understood in political, social or cultural terms; how borders and conflicts affect South Asia. Besides films, as it is understood in conventional terms, the conference includes all kinds of audio-visual practices, such as documentaries, web series, TV serials, YouTube videos or any other form of audio-visual narrative.

The conference invites scholars from around the world to share their critical ideas on how borders, conflicts, wars, citizenry, ideas of nation have been represented in cinema(s), with a special focus on South Asia. Research papers and case studies are invited on, but not restricted
to, the following themes:

  • Migration, Borders and Cinema
  • Visible/Invisible Borders
  • Geopolitics, International Relations and Cinema
  • Partition and its Legacies
  • Film Adaptation and Re-imagining Borders/Conflicts
  • Landscape(s), Nations and Borders
  • Transnationalism, Multiculturalism, Diaspora and Cinema
  • Trauma, Memory and Cinema
  • Questioning Borders

Submission Guidelines:

  • Please send an abstract of 250-300 words to Each scholar will be given 15 minutes to make the presentation.
  • All full paper submissions will be peer-reviewed and evaluated based on originality, research depth, and relevance to the conference call for papers.

Dates to Remember

  • Submission of Abstracts: May 30, 2022
  • Confirmation of Accepted Abstracts: June 15, 2022
  • Submission of Final Papers: October 15, 2022
  • Dates of the Conference: November 4-6, 2022


Organizing Team:

Prof. Vivek Sachdeva, GGSIP University, New Delhi
Prof. Nishat Haider, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
Dr. Hariprasad Athanickal, EFL University, Hyderabad
Dr. Chandrakant Langare, Shivaji University, Kolhapur
Dr. Harmanpreet Kaur, TISS, Mumbai

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