SALA Conference: South Asia in the Academy: Classroom Practices, Professional Citizenship, and Intellectual Agency

South Asian Literary Association Annual Conference January 7-9, 2020
Thompson Seattle, 110 Stewart Street, Seattle, Washington 98101

We are interested in the various ways in which South Asian literature and studies and the discipline’s practitioners fit into academic landscapes including, but not limited to, those in South Asia, North America, Europe, etc. The conference encourages the submission of abstracts that deal with issues of practicality and pedagogy, in addition to theory and research, especially about teaching practices, literary-critical studies that contribute to teaching South Asia, and what Ernest Boyer termed “The Scholarship of Teaching.” We are particularly interested in

  • Locating curriculum beginnings, for example, with Gauri Viswanathan’s Masks of Conquest, but also with the rise of post-colonial studies and the proliferation of South Asian writers publishing in English
  • Discussing how courses began to proliferate in world literature, post-colonial literature, etc. (frequently connected with the next point) and where this disciplinary focus on South Asia is headed in the future
  • Exploring how the growth of the discipline led to the training of academics in the field of South Asian studies (perhaps pulling in G. C. Spivak’s Outside in the Teaching Machine)
  • Situating such exploration amidst the establishment of Centers for South Asian programs of study and the proliferation of journals and book series, such as “South Asia across the Disciplines”
  • Exploring the differences in pedagogic and research approaches to South Asian literature and studies in the West (in the United States, Canada, and Europe) and in various South Asian nations
  • Exploring the representational politics between South Asian literature in English and South Asian literatures in native languages
  • Sharing literary-critical analyses of texts that contribute to teaching South Asian literature and theory in the classroom
  • Analyzing how the teaching and scholarship of South Asian literature and studies connect to South Asian communities around the globe

Little attention has been paid to an analysis of the classroom itself, which is where the field and its theories meet the students. Papers might address the following questions/concerns, among others:

Classroom Practices:

  • What specific challenges arise in the classroom when teaching South Asian literature?
  • How do we navigate these challenges in times of political conservatism and retrenchment?
  • How does the type of course in which South Asian literature is assigned (composition, world literature survey, British literature survey, special topics, diversity requirement, etc.) impact the choice of texts, design of syllabi, types of assignments, and/or classroom activities?
  • What theories of teaching assist (or hinder) the teaching of South Asian literature and/or culture?
  • Are there distinguishing factors of a specifically South Asian pedagogy?
  • Where do South Asianists locate themselves in relation to works such as Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia and Teaching with Tension: Race, Resistance, and Reality in the Classroom?
  • How do threats of violence, arising from, but not limited to, issues surrounding caste, gender, sexuality, white fragility, resurgent nationalisms, etc., affect classroom dynamics?
  • How do we teach the variety and complexities of the different Englishes spoken in different regions of South Asia, and even within a South Asian nation, as reflected in South Asian texts?
  • How do depictions (particularly cinematic or literary) of the dynamics of the classroom, affect how you teach a South Asian text?
  • How do we negotiate the difference between teaching South Asian texts in English and South Asian texts in translation?
  • How do our selection of South Asian texts and/or pedagogical strategies differ based on the location (i.e., South Asian versus American or European academic institutions) or type of institution (i.e., PWIs vs minority-serving institutions)?

Professional Citizenship:

  • How do South Asian literature and studies fit into the curricula of various types of colleges/universities, as well as department housings and tenure or non-tenure appointments?
  • What opportunities can be leveraged for representing/advocating for the South Asian uniquely, but also for allying with other disciplines invested in the study of the diversity of the human experience?
  • What is the effect of institutional norms and/or constraints (such as teaching assistantships, tenure-track or adjunct, curriculum dictates and/or restraints, etc.) on the teaching of South Asian literature?
  • What are the most pressing ethical considerations for the South Asianist, whether pedagogical, administrative, activist, etc.?
  • Within the varied institutional structures that house our field, how can a teacher of South Asian literature affect change and/or negotiate compromise?

Intellectual Agency:

  • What fields of inquiry become fraught with danger for South Asianists to study and/or teach?
  • How can the field push forward research and knowledge production while also working to support scholarship and scholars who find themselves in danger of reprisal or termination?
  • What challenges and/or opportunities arise from the language debates around Anglophone and vernacular literary studies?
  • What are the multi-disciplinary boundaries of the field of South Asian literature? How do the fields of post-colonialism, area studies, religion, philosophy, history, economics, queer studies, feminism, ecocriticism, etc. intersect with South Asian literature?
  • How do South Asian Studies and/or South Asian literature fit into universities in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, etc.? What are the university structures and/or academic program constraints or possibilities?
  • How do the professors of South Asian literature adapt to (or disrupt) the variety of institutional types (R1, state or regional university, small liberal arts, technical, community, high school, etc.), regional locations (urban, coastal, rural, international, etc.), and foci (teaching intensive, technical or STEM focused, teacher certifying, research intensive, etc.) found within a diverse as well as demanding job market?
  • How do 21st century adaptations within the academic world (digital landscapes, technological pedagogies, and distance education) expand and/or challenge the field of South Asian literature?

You may submit an abstract for a paper, a panel proposal including abstracts and bios for all participants, or a proposal for a roundtable. All abstracts should be no more than 250 words, and bios no more than 75. All proposals need to be submitted by the hard deadline of September 15, 2019 online at

You can direct your questions about the conference to Drs. Aniruddha Mukhopadhyay, Pennie Ticen, and Moumin Quazi at

Conference Co-Chairs:

Dr. Aniruddha Mukhopadhyay is Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He was awarded a Digital Fellowship as part of the Digital Innovation Movement at his university and serves as Web Manager of the South Asian Literary Association. He specializes in 20th/21st century Global Anglophone literatures and postcolonial studies and is working on pedagogic strategies for teaching Dalit literature in the South Texas classroom. He has been published in the Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas.

Dr. Pennie Ticen is Associate Professor of English at Virginia Military Institute. She received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she focused on the use of epic and myth in the works of Joyce, Walcott, and Rushdie. Her current teaching includes courses in the Literature of Indian Independence and Empire Writing in British India. She has been a member of SALA for 18 years, serving on the Executive Committee from 2002-2004, Co-Chairing (with Dr. Raje Kaur) SALA’s 2004 Conference (“Transnationalism and its Discontents”), and serving as SALA’s treasurer from 2005-2007. She is currently working on the essay in post-colonial literature.

Dr. Moumin Quazi is a professor at Tarleton State University where he has also served as the director of the graduate program in English. He recently was presented the 2019 College English Association Professional Achievement Award. He hosts a weekly radio show, directs an annual arts festival, and edits a book series on South Asian culture. He owns the publishing company, Scheherazade Press, and is presently the treasurer of SALA and the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers.

Important Deadlines:

September 15: submission deadline

October 1: decision notification

December 1: presenters must be members of the South Asian Literary Association in order to be on the program

December 1: participants must register for the conference in order to avail of the early registration rate. Registration rates will go up by $20 after Dec. 1