Indigenous People in the Post-Colonial World
Language - Literature - Culture - History (Conference)


Bhasha Research and Publications Centre,
Vadodara, India

in association with

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
National Manuscripts Mission of India
European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS) and
Indian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (IACLALS)

announces a conference to be held January 2nd and January 5th 2008
at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi, India

This conference, as the Bhili tribal term "chotro" implies, aims to "bring toghether" writers, artists and scholars from all over the world interested in languages and literatures, the cultures and histories of the indigenous peoples of the post-colonial world. It is being hosted by an international group of sponsors and will be held at a prestigious venue in Delhi's government quarter. A number of  eminent Indian writers will address the conference.

The Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, established by Professor Ganesh Devy, has since its inception worked specifically with and on behalf of the Adivasi or tribal people of India, who have long been neglected in India itself and whose cultural expression remains little known both in India and abroad. Bhasha has undertaken to document the linguistic, literary and artistic heritge of tribal communities in India; it has collaborated with national academies of art and literature and research institutes to encourage research in tribal art and literature; it has pioneered the publication of literary and educational materials in tribal languages; and it has set up the Adivasi Academi at Tejgadh (Gujarat) for the promotion of tribal languages, literature, arts and culture and as an institute of formal education. In the process its work has taken it much beyond the confines of linguistic and studies.

'The IGNCA has concerned itself for the past two decades with the cultural and mental landscapes inhabited by tribal communities in India. It has carried out extensive village studies and investigated tribal knowledge systems, human and natural resource management strategies, evolved by tribal communities, and terms of beauty and utility, efficiency and equity, created by them in different ecological contexts. It has hosted and coordinated with Bhasha, a gathering of nearly 1600 nomadic tribal people from all over India, and built up a significant archive on tribal traditions'.

Together with its co-sponsors Bhasha now seeks to initiate discussion of the experience of indigenous people on a global scale and in a comparative, cross-cultural perspective. The proposed conference will provide an opportunity for an international exchange of ideas between indigenous people and those interested in their cultural expression, for there are indeed many parallels between, for example, the Aborgines of Australia, the First Nationas of Canada and the Adivasi of India. It is hoped that the conference will for the first time situate the experience of the Adivasi in the wider context of the post-colonial world.

In drawing attention to the cultural traditions and the response of indigenous people to their dispossesion the world over, the conference will at the same time provide new orientation and inspiration for psot-colonial studies.

Contributions are sought on the following topics:

orature; stories of origin /  creation myths; cosmology / knowledge systems; life histories; storytelling / folk tales; poetry; drama and performance; aesthetics / interculturality; threatened languages / language death; language development / scripts; subaltern history; cultural and human rights; publishing in aboriginal / tribal languages; translation from aboriginal / tribal languages; marginalization of aboriginal / tribal cultural expression.

'The IGNCA would be happy to receive audio visual material, slides, photographs, calligraphy, handwritten and illustrated poetry, stories and samples of literature poetry, stories and samples of literature written by, for, and, on tribal people, in order to set up a display and an exhibition, as a backdrop to the proposed gathering, to enlarge its tribal archive, and, to further fortify and spread awareness about tribal creativity and history'.



Registration: The registration form can be downloaded from or and
should be returned as an attachment by email to
Sonal Baxi (Bhasha) at

Conference Fee: 

There will be a conference fee of EUR 50 / US $ 60, payable on arrival (this is for scholars from outside India only; it does not apply to scholars from within India). Accommodation, food and local transport will be provided free of charge.


Abstracts of approx. 100 words should be sent by email before the 31st July 2007 to Professor Geoffrey V. Davis (University of Aachen, Germany) 

email Address:

Acceptance of contributions:

Notification of acceptance of papers together with a formal invitation to attend will be sent out from Bhasha by 15th August 2007.

Visa Requirements:

Foreign nationals requiring visas can download Indian visa forms from the website of the Indian embassy in their country of residence.


The conference proceedings will be published jointly by Rodopi, Amsterdam & New York in their Cross/Cultures: Readings in the Post/Colonial Literatures in English series and by an Indian publisher.

Submission of finalized papers for publication: 

31st March 2008



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