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Art, Marginality and Existentialism: Strategies For an Authentic Social Reform

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Organizer: Amrit Mishra

Co-Organizer: Tamanna Priya

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The west-centric understanding of existentialism has only looked at the efficacy of existentialism as a philosophy trapped in the clutches of wartime. A look at existential philosophy and its social usages shows that it has an import that goes beyond disciplinary boundaries crisscrossing literature, sociology, anthropology, legal studies, media studies, cinema studies, and more. Recent work on minority literature across the world, especially in South Asian countries, has focussed on the liberation of the self as an essential aspect of the academic and non-academic practices of an existential way of life. The cinematic work of Neeraj Ghaywan and Nagraj Manjule, the semi-autobiographical writings of Suraj Yengde, and the tribally routed creative work of Swaraj Shekhar Hansda, all have a pulse of the existentially charged undercurrent that offers both an insight into and a resolution of these problems. Some of the concerns that one can consider under the umbrella term minorities are caste oppression, ableism, class bias, gender bias, sexual minorities, religious minorities, and political minorities (refugees, immigrant citizens, migrant laborers, illegal immigrants, political asylum seekers, and more). The protest and reform literature emerging from these areas has had a readership that is fluctuating and yet diversified. The seminar is also interested in exploring the relationship of authenticity emerging from the relationship between the artist and his readers. The recent near-fatal attack on Salman Rushdie, a writer with his due share of fame and hard luck opens new questions about the limits of artistic authenticity and the deterministic limits that the ‘society’ would like to impose on the individual author.

Papers addressing the following areas are invited from academicians, journalists, social workers, graduate students, policymakers, and literature and philosophy enthusiasts in general. Attach a brief bio that gives an idea of your previous academic or industry experience.

  • Existentialism(s), Identity Politics, and Social Reform

  • Cinema and Existential Psycho-Social Reform

  • Existentialism(s) from the Margins

  • Time, Trauma, and The Shifting Other

  • Existentialism and Terrorism: Strategies For a Safer World

  • The Existential Author and The Costs of Authenticity

  • Liberating Gender Through Existentialism(S)

The list is not a limiting one. Presenters are welcome to suggest newer areas in line with the call.


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