CFP: South Asian Studies Symposium: Pedagogy and Community Building

Please see the following Call for Papers from Sai Bhatawadekar, Director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  There is more information on the Center’s website.


South Asian Studies: Pedagogy and Community Building

19th – 21st April, 2017

Annual Symposium

Center for South Asian Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Deadline for abstracts – February 15, 2017

Notification of acceptance – February 20, 2017

This conference aims to self-reflexively understand the connections between academia and community building. As scholars and pedagogues, we cultivate critical thinking in ourselves and our students as our central learning objective. We recognize that it is indeed one crucial part of our role in the world, but that an equally critical approach to action and community engagement is imperative to our collective life. How do we bridge critical thinking with critical caring and critical action? How do our scholarly pursuits and teaching practices in South Asian Studies extend to community building? How do we and our pedagogy foster communities of compassion and kindness, of resilience and resistance, of creativity and performing arts, political and social activism, heritage and diversity, identity and empowerment, linguistic revitalization, health and healing, environment and sustainability, and of many other aspects. In that process, how do we understand our own identities as academics, scholars, teachers, artists, activists, community leaders, and peacebuilders? Conversely, how do communities, whether inclusive or exclusionary, employ certain pedagogical approaches to accomplish their set goals? How do state, nongovernmental, religious, or other institutions, play roles in expanding or drawing boundaries around communities? How have the intersections of pedagogy and community played out historically, geographically, ideologically, economically, cross-culturally etc.? What have been the challenges and rewards, complexities and clarities, frustrations and joys?

For our Spring Symposium 2017 we invite abstracts for papers or creative presentations that address these and related themes with regard to South Asia. We invite proposals that problematize the central terms: pedagogy, community, peace, critical caring, and action, etc. We invite papers from scholars from all disciplines, performing and other artists, directors, filmmakers, and activists with critical reflections on their personal narratives of community engagement.

Papers/creative presentations may address, but not limit to, the following themes:

— Classroom as community and pedagogical approaches as community building tools

— Art, creativity, and community building – art, theater, music, dance, film. Creating thriving diverse spaces in the community

— Linguistic communities and revitalization

— Heritage learners and cross-cultural identities

— Critical Thinking and Critical Caring

— Critical thinking as student learning objective, community building as institutional learning objective

— Exclusionary communities / communalism

— Dialogue across differences

— Self-identity as pedagogues, artists, activists

— Building empathy, compassion, joy.

— Conflict Resolution, peace building, overcoming direct and indirect violence

— Health and healing

— Community responses to disaster and trauma

— Hurdles and challenges in community building

— Law and definitions of community

— Grassroots initiatives, community initiatives

— Collaboration between community organizations and academic institutions

— Social media and virtual communities

Please send 300 word abstracts to and

Hope to see you in Hawaii and engage in meaningful action.


Sai Bhatawadekar

Director, Center for South Asian Studies

Associate Professor of Hindi-Urdu

Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures, University of Hawaii at Manoa

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