Call for Papers: India and its Diaspora: A Comparative Perspective

 

Call for Papers: India and its Diaspora: A Comparative Perspective
29–30 March 2013, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
 
The process of global economic, social and cultural integration has received a stimulus from the presence of transnational communities. The past decade has witnessed a phenomenal dynamism among Diaspora communities due to the  recent advancement in information technology and communications. The emerging science and technological advancement has reduced the distance, cost and broken the communication barriers. In fact, these developments have not  only  brought Diaspora communities and their motherland closer but also have facilitated forging closer ties between  dispersed Diaspora communities around the world.  
 
In addition, Diaspora actors and communities are increasingly recognized as a resource in international  relations, for economic collaborations and development in the larger sense in the country of origin. In this regard, the  role of remittances, diaspora investment and charity, as well as diasporas as elements of cultural policies strengthening  the ‘soft power’ of their country of origin are recognized by a large number of countries the world over.  Thus, in the last decade, the area of diaspora policies and attempts by governments to strengthen the relationship with their diasporas has  gained much momemtum. 
 
It is critical, however, to understand that Diaspora communities are no monolithic and coherent groups. India  is a prime example of the heterogeneity of its diaspora. There are an estimated 20–25 million people of Indian origin (PIO) outside India spread over 136 countries. A large number of these PIOs left India under colonial rule and settled in 
Africa, Caribbean and Oceania—some of them as indentured laborers and others as freely travelling merchants. Other emigrated in the last 40 years  as skilled and semi-skilled workers to the Middle East, Europe, Northern America and Oceania. While many became citizens in Northern America, Indians in the Gulf were largely excluded from  itizenship.
 
However, also within each region of destination, Indian communities are highly divers, differing  in region of origin,culture, languages, dialects,  social morels and religions,  reflecting the high diversity of their motherland, India. In addition, differences in the historical contexts of their migration and social characteristics such as class, caste, and level of education  are considerable in most, if not all regions where Indians have settled. Further, there are important differences in the political environment in countries of settlement. In some countries, such as in East Africa and Fiji, indigenous the population displays subtle or even open hostility toward Indian communities, posing specific challenges  for the communities as well as for India’s policies responses.
 
However, despite these differences, it has been observed that persons of Indian origin the world over tend to cherish their “Indianness” and connect both, with India as well as with Indian communities in other countries of residence. For this reason, it important to examine the Indian “Diaspora” from a comparative perspective.
 
Seminar on India and its Diaspora: A Comparative Perspective
 
In order to shed light on many of these issues, the  Centre for African Studies,  Jawaharlal Nehru University in collaboration with the Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives, New Delhi is organising an international seminar on India  and its Diaspora: A Comparative Perspective, to be held on 29–30 March 2013 at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 
 
The seminar will highlight different dimensions of the Indian diaspora, India’s policy responses and the linkages between persons of Indian origin abroad and in India. In addition, comparisons between Indians and other  diaspora experiences are welcome to further the understanding of possibilities and shortcomings. The seminar will 
revolve around the following six sub-themes:
 
1. Contingencies and Differences in India’s Diaspora policies.
2. Diaspora and Gender: Discussing gender issues in the Indian Diaspora and the gender deficit in India’s Diaspora policy.
3. Diaspora as a Resource: How can the social, human and financial capital of persons of Indian origin be harnessed 
for India’s development?
4. India’s regional Diasporas: Comparing patterns, potentials and policies for source regions and states.
5. Interacting with the Diaspora: Government communication, platforms and structures.2
6. The Indian Diaspora in a global perspective: What can we learn from other Diasporas? 
 
Contingencies and Differences in India’s Diaspora policies. The overseas Indian community established an effective network among themselves as well as with mother country, it developed global organizations and the modern means of communications. This effected their transformation into Indian Diaspora. In a globalised world, its growing network and  its linkages with India has made it an important issues in India’s foreign policy. Its spoke and wheel relationship with India has changed into a web relationship. The government of India has also recognized the new face and aspirations of the different diaspora communities. Departing from its previous policies of ‘active dissociation’, it has moved toward a policy of ‘active association’ establishing a policy framework and structures to incorporate the Indian Diaspora.
 
Papers may address the development of India’s policy stance toward the diaspora over time, including the colonial, pre-globalisation and post-globalisation phases. This may also include comparisons of policies towards newer communities and the so-called “old diaspora”. 
 
Diaspora and Gender: Discussing gender issues in the Indian Diaspora and the gender deficit in India’s Diaspora policy. Gender is an oft-neglect aspect of the Indian diaspora and India’s policies. Papers may address specific aspects of gender-relations, comparisons between gender-relations in India and among overseas Indian communities, as well as needs to address specific vulnerabilities and needs by policies and Government activities.
 
Diaspora as a Resource: How can the social, human and financial capital of persons of Indian origin be harnessed for India’s development? Through the comparative lens, the seminar attempts to contribute to focusing not only on the socio-economic political and international positioning of PIOs but also on what is needed to enable the Indian Diaspora to emerge as an international force? What are the roles and tasks of different stakeholders, the government and people of India, the leaders of PIOs, the business community of PIOs, the academician and the media etc.? This includes examining the Indian diaspora from the viewpoint of international relations and ethnic interest groups, as well as economic interactions on remittances, investment, philanthropy, social remittances and the diaspora as a network.
 
India’s regional Diasporas: Comparing patterns, potentials and policies for source regions and states. As stated in the introduction, India’s diaspora communities are highly diverse with regard to their ethnic composition and region of origin. Papers may focus on single regional Diasporas or compare different regional, ethnic and religious groups of Indians residing abroad.
 
Interacting with the Diaspora: Government communication, platforms and structures. Along with diaspora policies, the Indian government has developed several platforms and structures to interact with the diaspora, such as the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in India as well as in countries of origin. In addition, 
more emphasis on communicating with the diaspora is given at Consulates and other Government agencies. Papers may analyse the paradigms underlying the communication, the symbols and rhetoric used by the Indian Government, and the 
relationships and structures established in this regard. 
 
The Indian Diaspora in a global perspective: What can we learn from other global Diasporas?  While the seminar focuses on the Indian Diaspora, comparisons with other Diasporas can enrich the discussion and analysis and exemplify future potentials or shortcomings of Indian communities and India’s official approach toward its overseas communities. International comparisons may focus on any of the sub-themes mentioned above from a comparative perspective.
 
Deadlines and practicalities 
 
Abstracts for papers should be submitted by 1st February 2013. The decision on paper acceptance will be communicated  by the organising committee by 5th of February 2013. 
There will be no registration fee. Free boarding during the conference will be provided to all presenters. There  is limited university guest house accommodation facility available for those participants whose full papers are sent by 1st of March 2013. There is no travel support available for participants.
 
For paper submissions and any further information regarding the seminar please contact Prof. Ajay Dubey at office@diasporastudies.in or chair_cas@mail.jnu.ac.in
 
 

 

Time and Place:

Date:   Friday, Mar 29, 2013
Venue:   Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Address:   Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
City/Twon:   New Delhi
© 2012-16 GRFDT, All Rights Reserved.Maintained by GRFDT.Designed by Abhinav Jain
Visitors on Google Maps 190996