Indian Oceanic Topographies, Contemporary Worlds, and Situated Practices

The 5th South Asia by the Bay Graduate Student Conference @ University of California, Davis

April 22 and 23, 2016

The emergence of Indian Ocean studies as a critical interdisciplinary field in the last decade and a half has offered thoughtful approaches for dismantling boundaries between specific area studies as well as a way of thinking about maps, globality, relationality, pre-colonial and colonial worlds, and transregional movements. Much of the work has been historical with an emphasis on trade, migrations, diasporas, religious networks, and mobilities across the region. The geographical limits of the ocean have provided the contours for analysis resulting in an emphasis on ports, coastal sites, and islands.  Work on the contemporary period has been uneven with some examination of literary practices but dominated by macro-policy issues, concerns with cross-border violence, security, refugees, or transnational economic investments.

South Asia by the Bay invites graduate student contributions that extend existing frameworks for thinking about the Indian Ocean and South Asia studies. We encourage submissions on the following themes: the relationship of present Indian Ocean sites and networks to the past; place- and map-making; relationalities within the region; new methodologies for analyzing the Indian Ocean; and the role of ritual, mnemonic, urban, architectural or other practices. We are particularly interested in papers that focus on contemporary Indian Ocean sites, topographies, and social practices.

This South Asia by the Bay graduate student conference is the fifth in the series and emerges from the collaboration between Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. This year it is hosted by the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis and held in conjunction with a “Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds Mellon Research Initiative” of UC Davis faculty and graduate students (2015-2018). Although the conference is open to the public, our aim is to provide a focused platform where graduate students can meet with each other and faculty from the organizing institutions and beyond to discuss their work.