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Vernacular Literature, Migrant Experience and Resettlement in South Asian Cities

This panel invites papers which explore literary approaches to migration, dislocation and resettlement in the megacities of South Asia. The panel is particularly interested in fictions and autobiographical narratives in vernacular languages and coming from the post Emergency period.

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Convenors:

· Nicola Pozza University of Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)
· Prof. Sadan Jha Centre for Social Studies (Surat, India)

Long Abstract

Migration from villages and small towns to megacities is a crucial aspect of contemporary South Asia. Leaving aside sociological, political or economic perspectives, this panel aims at analysing migrant experiences through the lens of fictional and autobiographical narratives. Besides its rarity, by privileging the literary, we intend to engage with the subjectivities, detailed profiling of migrant characters and their lives. We wish to anchor upon fictional and autobiographical narratives or experiential writings from vernacular languages, primarily but not exclusively Hindi. As number of studies dealing with migration and resettlement have centred around the Partition of India, this panel invites contributors to chart a relatively ignored period: post Emergency phase of the contemporary. This panel aims at bringing into conversation scholars interested in themes such as (though not restricted to) expectations and aspirations of migrants; effects of dislocation on their everyday life; negotiation of social, religious and economic identity in the new urban setting; ways of dealing with the notion of “informality” in literature; migrant ‘production of space’ (Lefebvre); representation of life in megacities; literary strategies adopted by narrators; literary construction of events, subjectivities and approaches to urban experiences of migration. Papers creatively mobilising inter-disciplinary perspectives and methods (i.e. combining anthropological and literary methods) are particularly invited. While this panel will focus on Indian megacities and Hindi literature, contributions that engage with other South Asian megapolis and other languages are also welcome.