Re-conceptualizing Colonialism in Postcolonial South Asia (Panel)


Cultural Studies and Media Studies / Women's and Gender Studies

Tapaswinee Mitra (University of Maryland College Park)

Pujarinee Mitra (Texas A&M University)

Alana Hunt’s (Cups of Nun Chai, 2020) concept of ‘postcolonial colonialism’ in the context of India Occupied Kashmir is crucial in our understanding of coloniality in contemporary South Asia. This subcontinent still grapples with its fraught colonial history under the British, followed by the holocaust of the Partition that challenged the conceptions of nation, territory, and citizenship. In addition to that, the recent shift towards authoritarianism in most of the South Asian nations, makes us rethink how we understand colonialism in the modern South Asian contexts, and the need to theorize it in non-Eurocentric terms. How does a postcolonial state transition into a masculinist colonial power? How does settler-colonial politics influence the occupation of indigenous lands in the name of “development,” displacement of lives and livelihoods, and destruction of ecosystems?

We invite papers that address and add to these concerns from various interdisciplinary contexts, including South Asian and South Asian Diasporic literature and films. Some of the topics we are interested in, but are not limited to, are:

Religious fundamentalism and Citizenship

Settler-Colonialism/Kashmir

US Neo-Imperialism and Displacement

Transnational Feminist Movements/State Masculinity

“Development” and the Environment

Migration/Rohingya Crisis

Communal Riots, Pogroms, and Genocides

Chinese incursions/Borderlands

Military dictatorship(s)

This panel addresses questions of coloniality in postcolonial South Asia in light of contemporary shifts towards authoritarianism and masculinist state politics in the subcontinent: the policies of the Indian administration in Kashmir, the rampant Islamophobia, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India, and the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.