Virtual Conference on Regional Histories: Land, Space and Communities

Organizer: Graduate Students, Department of History and Archaeology, Shiv Nadar University

  • When: 16th, 17th and 18th of March 202
  • Through virtual mode
  • Call for Papers

Regions, regionalism, borders, and identities have become keywords that have gained sizable traction across different spatial conceptions in the last few decades. Although Regional Histories have been central to the histories of South Asia since the early nineteenth century, the traditionalist approach, predominantly colonial, was prone to assign civilisational and cultural attributes to regional spaces from an external standpoint. The limitations of this approach were that such regions were seen as fixed and immobile geographies seldom capable of going beyond essentialised characterisations. However, in the last two decades, methodological and positional shifts addressing the histories of regions have stimulated many significant debates, leading, in some cases, to a self-reflection on the historian’s craft.

In the recent past, regional studies have not only eschewed established binaries and terminologies of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ but have also heralded timely methodological shifts. Through this growing scholarship, the ‘regional’ and ‘local’ have ceased to be understood as mere geographic or administrative adjuncts of the nation. In fact, regional histories have increasingly questioned the universality and objectivity of pan-national theorisations. In recent times, regional studies have emerged as a prominent framework with attached cosmopolitan possibilities to examine the effects of modernity, culture, trade, urbanisation and movement across different local and trans-local registers. They have also afforded opportunities to zoom in on processes and shifts in gender, race, caste, and other socio-economic formations. The social and historical production of regionalities and their imaginings through literature, arts, and material cultures have both enriched the narratives from below as well as challenged the
established periodisation of South Asian pasts.

The third edition of the SNU Graduate Conference aims to take further the conversation on land and space from the previous two editions of our conferences towards an understanding and writing of regional histories. We aim to open our conference to the broader theme of regional studies, invoking different temporal and spatial understandings of what constitutes a region. This conference aims to rethink the historical understanding of regions by encouraging an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on historical research, literary studies, and historical anthropology. The intention is to go beyond the limited lens of regional commonalities and region-making to understand interlinked and diverse socio-historical processes such as cultural interactions, trade, travel, pilgrimage, warfare, colonization, and the like. Regions, in such approaches, are seen as variable geographies created and shaped by a complex web of
relationships between people and their environments.

We invite participants to initiate a dialogue centring on all aspects of regional histories. These could include, but are not restricted to, the following sub-themes:

  • Region and Identity
  • Region and Language
  • Region and Urbanization
  • Archaeology, Visual Culture, Heritages
  • Frontier and borderlands
  • Memory and narratives
  • Regional histories of colonialism
  • Race, caste, gender and labour relations
  • Resistance and conflicts
  • Literature and Literary Imaginings of Regions
  • Cultural practices and Museum Studies
  • Transregional networks of Trade and Maritime Histories
  • Histories of Decolonization
  • Movement, Mobility and Migrations across Regions

Invite MPhil and PhD scholars to send individual papers or panels (250-300 words) along with a short bio-note indicating their research stage (150 words) to by 20th January 2023. For panel proposals, a separate abstract for each paper should be included.

  • Selected participants will be informed over email by 31st January 2023
  • The selected papers (3500-5000 words) will have to be submitted by 1st March 2023
  • The conference will be held in virtual mode on the 16th, 17th and 18th of March 2023, so it will be possible to present and attend remotely.

Jyoti Agarwal –
Meera Panicker-
Contact Email:

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