This panel explores subaltern narratives in South Asia with a focus on the question of continuities and discontinuities in subaltern politics of representation.
This panel will discuss contemporary self-representations of subaltern groups in South Asia. Literature, film and religio-cultural performances produced by subaltern groups such as Dalits and tribals, for example, try to find new ways of expressing subaltern subjectivities and representing communities. In producing new forms of self-representations, how do the subalterns attempt to overcome their situations of marginality? How do they rewrite their past memories of oppression? How do they subvert structures of domination: overtly or covertly or both? What kind of future vision and alternate world do subalterns script for themselves and for the nation at large in these narratives? What images, symbols, metaphors, myths, discursive and non-discursive practices of the past do they retain in their new narratives and what do they discard? How do they re-position and re-interpret them to fashion their self-portrait? In re-casting their self-image, in what ways do they negate, negotiate and benefit from processes such as modernisation and globalisation? The panel intends to explore how new subaltern narratives answer these questions by investigating them (i) in multiple socio-cultural contexts and sites of constructions (ii) from an interdisciplinary perspective employing literary criticism, critical and cultural theory and the methods of social sciences.