[INDOLOGY] Questioning South Asia Conference

Walter Slaje slaje at kabelmail.de
Thu May 18 15:18:57 UTC 2017

Thank you, too, Howard! These questions are however best addressed to the
organizers of the conference.

I am not involved.

> “Pursuit of global hegemony”?

„The word, the phrase "South Asia" was invented in Washington D.C. at the
State Department.“

(Sheldon Pollock).

If "South Asia" – understood in its geopolitical connotation – was indeed
instigated by the State Department as part of a conceptual, i.e. artificial
segmentation of Asia into different post-war spheres of influence, in whose
interest should one expect them to pursue such an agenda?

The temporal coincidence with the swift founding of Departments and courses
of university studies, all of a sudden bearing “South Asia” in their names
like flag-staffs of the new policy is something which might make some
colleagues reflect a little more about the institutional histories of their

Have a look at this:

*http://tinyurl.com/lnn4uqw <http://tinyurl.com/lnn4uqw>*



2017-05-18 15:45 GMT+02:00 Howard Resnick <hr at ivs.edu>:

> Thank you Walter. I hope I’m not the only one that is somewhat incredulous
> at the idea that to accept the rubric of ’South Asia’ as a legitimate
> organizing tool of scholarship “signals acquiescence if not participation
> in an agenda informed by pursuit of global hegemony.”
> “Pursuit of global hegemony”?
> I confess that I never imagined that I was unwittingly involved in a plot
> to rule the world.
> On May 18, 2017, at 4:23 PM, Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> I should like to draw your attention to a conference dealing with the
> notion of "South Asia" as a geopolitical construct with hegemonic agendas:
> http://habib.edu.pk/questioningsouthasia/
> [Announcement excerpt]
> "The geopolitical significance of South Asia has been a well-known fact in
> policy and security studies for the last several decades. In academic
> circles too, the logic of South Asia has become a naturalized reality: its
> appearance in the area studies departments of many US/western institutions
> signals acquiescence if not participation in an agenda informed by pursuit
> of global hegemony. The naturalisation of South Asia as a discourse recalls
> European precedents of producing knowledge about the ‘other’ in order to
> foster a morally and epistemologically superior European identity – as
> witnessed in the historical invention of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
> [...] Questioning South Asia as a discourse that at present burdens the
> scholarly imagination, and overdetermines conference agendas and research
> funding, might reconfigure the strategies we employ to understand the
> region. Some of the questions we seek to investigate are: What are the
> obstacles to developing comparative research perspectives for scholars
> constrained by ‘South Asia’? How can we shift away from the dominant
> framework of South Asia as an already-determined category, and devise new
> research agendas? And what demands for change, transformation, or
> recalibration might this place on us as subjects undertaking research?"
> Kindly regarding,
> Walter Slaje
> -----------------------------
> Prof. Dr. Walter Slaje
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