The Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia organised an Online International Conference on “Globalization and New Terrains of Consciousness: Phenomenologies of the Global/Local/Glocal” from the 8th to the 10th of February 2021 on Zoom. Supported by the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), Ministry of Education, Government of India, the conference was organized in collaboration with Department of English and American StudiesUniversity of Würzburg, Germany.Prof. Simi Malhotra, Department of English, JMI, Indian PI and Conference Chair inaugurated the conference welcoming the guests, the presenters and the attendees.
She spoke about the conference as being part of a larger academic and research collaboration of the University under the SPARC scheme which began in 2019 and aimed at thinking about globalization and localization through the diverse experiences of the literary and the cultural.Elaborating on the themes defining the conference, Prof. Zeno Ackermann, Department of English and American Studies, University of Würzburg, International Co-PI and Conference Co-Chair discussed the participative and collaborative quality of local articulations of global experiences.
The inaugural address titled, “The Haptic and the Phatic in the Twilight of Globalization” was delivered by Prof. Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication, NYU. Prof. Appadurai discussed the increasing tension between the growing powers of touch, in the era of digitality, and the diminishing powers of the phatic forms of communication, against what he referred to as the ‘twilight of globalization’.
The enlightening address was followed by the Vote of Thanks by Prof. Nishat Zaidi, Head, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, Indian Co-PI and Conference Co-Chair.Paper presentation started the next day with great success, with the first session, chaired by Prof. Nishat Zaidi. The session had presentations by Prof. Nishat Haider, Deeksha Yada, Grace Mariam Raju, and Nishtha Pandey.
This was followed by the first Plenary session which included two presentations and was chaired by Prof. Soumyabrata Choudhury. Prof. Joff P. N. Bradley’s talk discussed three metaphors to explore the phenomenology of violence, disorientation and disruption. Dr. Manoj NY dwelled on the social life of ‘alcohol’ in Kerala to unfold what he called the ‘meshwork of process or lines of becoming’.The second Paper Presentation session included four presentations, by Ayush Biswas, Soham Adhikari, Zahra Rizvi and Pawel Michna, and was chaired by Dr. Manoj NY.Chaired by Prof. Dilip Menon, the second Plenary session included a discussion between Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir and Monsieur Ari Gautier who co-demonstrated the radical challenge to majoritarian and nativist narratives posed by the figure of the alegromitya, one of the key concepts developed in course of their work together on their co-founded cultural platform, le thinnaikreyol.
This was followed by the third Paper Presentation session, chaired by Prof. Angelie Multani, and included presentations by Shraddha A. Singh, Ainee Basir, Amrita Singh, andVenya Patel.The third Plenary session, chaired by Prof. Zeno Ackermann, included two presentations. Prof. David Schalkwyk’s talk investigated the implications for the current conceptions of Shakespeare particularly of the disarticulation of Shylock in Compagnia di Colombari’s multilingual production, The Merchant in Venice. Dr. Miriam Wallraven’s talk explore the narrative dynamics mediating voices as an attempt at highlighting the complex negotiation of representation which is created in the globalized contact zone of different perspectives, countries, languages and voices.
The Keynote, titled “Move Over, Mona Lisa. Move Over, Jane Eyre: Disrupting the Cultural and Intellectual Inequality Pipeline” was delivered by Prof. Peggy Levitt, Professor and Chair, Sociology Department, Wellesley College, U.S.A., where she discussed what she calls the the inequality pipeline that places barriers to entry for artists, writers, and thinkers who live outside the traditional centres of cultural and intellectual power. The structure and space of the university was at the center of this discussion, leading to some interesting insights.
This session was chaired by Prof. Saikat Majumdar.The Special Keynote, titled “Becoming Utopian: Exploring the Praxis of Making a Better World”, was delivered by Prof. Tom Moylan, Glucksman Professor Emeritus, Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies, University of Limerick, Ireland, where he explored the process of “becoming utopian” in the dystopian condition, by drawing on his book, Becoming Utopian. He engaged with the radical utopian subject and a resultant utopian imaginary and practice to articulate better futures. This session was chaired by Prof. Isabel Karremann.The day was brought to a close by a Vote of Thanks by Shraddha A. Singh and Zahra Rizvi, research scholars from the Department of English, JMI.Paper Presentations by Umar Nizaruddin, Arpita Sen,Indrani Das Gupta, and Ajith Cherian, opened the next day.
This session was chaired by Dr. AvishekParui. This was followed by a Plenary session which included two presentations and was chaired by Prof. Nishat Zaidi. Dr. AvishekParui’s talk examined memory as a storytelling activity, drawing on the research in cognitive neuroscience by Antonio Damasio, V. S. Ramachandran, and Eric Kandel. Dr. Rahul K. Gairola’s talk discussed digital humanities and its intersections with postcolonial studies.
The next round of Paper Presentations, chaired by Prof. Stuti Khanna, included presentations by Srinjoyee Dutta, Namita Paul, Lakshmi Menon, and Mohit Abrol.Chaired by Prof. Zeno Ackermann, the next Plenary session included two presentations. Prof. Brandon LaBelle discussed the nurturing forms of radical togetherness or escape by engaging with the capacity to shift volumes, to rework rhythms, to retune or detune the dominant tonalities.Prof. Yasmeen Arifexplored the geopolitical and geometrical kinesthetics of social space, as it unfolds in the experience of a glocal pandemic. This was followed by session of Paper Presentations chaired by Prof. Brinda Bose. This session included presentations by Sakshi Dogra, Susan George, Steven S. George, and Priya Parrotta.The sixth Plenary session, chaired by Prof. M. Asaduddin, was a talk by Suman Gupta where he analysed the relationship between a ‘common sense’ of history and the effect of inclusive historical accounts, especially with the growth of digital technology and its penetration in everyday life.This was followed by the seventh Plenary session, chaired by Prof. SaugataBhaduri, which included two presentations.Radhika Subramaniamexplored urban cohabitation through ideas of residency, neighbourliness, hospitality, adaptability, xenophobia, fear and suspicion. The interactive session with Francesca Ferrandodeconstructed the idea of ‘the human’, exploring the posthuman turn in philosophy and its allied discourses while dwelling on biopolitics and environmental concerns.Chaired by Prof. Simi Malhotra, the Valedictory Address, titled “The Global and the Planetary: Some Thoughts on Our Times”, was delivered Prof. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College; University of Chicago. Prof. Chakrabarty offered some of the most dynamic and discussion-provoking thoughts on how a distinction between “the globe” and “the planet” structures historical thinking in the present and elaborate on the distinction. His session tied together all of the sessions wonderfully.
Embracing an international audience with the different time zones, the virtual International Conference was brought to an end with a Vote of Thanks by Shraddha A. Singh and Zahra Rizvi.To ensure a wide range of viewership and participation, the entire conference was also live streamed on YouTube.