Friday, 1 November 2013

Call for papers: ‘Visual anthropology and contemporary South Asian history’

Call for papers: ‘Visual anthropology and contemporary South Asian history’ Conference, University of Cambridge, 4 – 5 April 2014 (

CFP deadline: 3 January 2014

Conveners: Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes (University of Cambridge) and Prof. Marcus Banks (University of Oxford).

The Centre of South Asian Studies (CSAS), University of Cambridge, and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) are organising the international conference on 'Visual anthropology and contemporary South Asian history’.

This conference aims to offer historians, anthropologists and postgraduate history students a unique opportunity to share and strengthen their scholarship within a cross-disciplinary research network concerned with the crucial relevance of applying theories of visual anthropology to the study of contemporary South Asian history. Invited speakers, panelists and delegates will examine the ways in which scholarship in the field of visual anthropology informs historiographical methodologies pertinent to re-interpreting, producing, distributing, and repatriating visual records of South Asian history. Moreover, the conference will create a strategically innovative research and practice-based framework for postgraduate history students interested in experimenting with and advancing new cross-methodological approaches. During a pre-conference workshop dedicated to ‘Writing South Asian history with visual research methods’ ten postgraduate history students will work with unique visual records selected from the collections held by the CSAS.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Prof. David MacDougall (Australian National University) and by Prof. Elizabeth Edwards (Vice-President of the Royal Anthropological Institute and Director of Photographic History Research Centre at De Montfort University). Prof. Alan Macfarlane (University of Cambridge) will present a special contribution. Other invited speakers include Prof. Christiane Brosius (Heidelberg University), Prof. Malavika Karlekar (Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi), Dr Lotte Hoek (University of Edinburgh), Dr Zoe Headley (Institut Français de Pondichery), Dr Kriti Kapila (King's College London), Dr Vron Ware (Open University) and Prof. Mandy Rose (UWE).

The conference will host a special session titled ‘Tamil Societies and Visibility' co-funded by the Fondation Maison Science de l’Homme, Paris, and the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge. Speakers include Dr Sujit Sivasundaram, Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes, and Dr Remo Reginold.
 Also, CRASSH Digital Humanities network will participate in designing and developing the pre-conference postgraduate student workshop with a view to expand and integrate similar practice-based learning strategies within digital humanities programs.

The conference invites contributions addressing the following topics:

     Perspective on visual anthropology and South Asian history

     The use of visual records in producing new histories of South Asian identities
     Digital anthropology and representation of contemporary South Asian societies
     Practice-based research methods combining visual and historical studies relevant to South Asia

The organisers invite proposals for papers or presentations of 20 minutes in length. Abstracts of 300 words and an author biography (incl. institutional affiliation) should be submitted via email to by 3 January 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 20 January 2014.
Any questions and concerns can be directed to Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes at