CFP: Colonial Northeast India— Local Histories, Regional Cultures, Global Connections

EXTENDED Call for Papers: Delhi Conference: 1 & 2 December 2014

‘Cane suspension bridge over the Témshang River, in the Khássia Hills’ (Hermann de Schlagintweit, 1855).

‘Cane suspension bridge over the Témshang River, in the Khássia Hills’ (Hermann de Schlagintweit, 1855).

This workshop proceeds from the proposition that northeast India has been in a perpetual state of being repeatedly marginalised, rediscovered and redefined, and that a contemporary appreciation of its complexities must come from a detailed understanding of its historical antecedents, many of which are rooted in colonial ideologies and practices. We hope that it will have the capacity to identify areas of commonality and collaboration in current historical research at both a macro and micro historical scale. We are particularly interested in how new historiographies (for example, of colonial violence, empire and deviance, transnational networks) can throw light on understanding the particular historical experience of the northeast. Our interests are in the practices of governance, but also in the social history of intercultural exchange and the ways in which historians might read against the grain of the colonial archive to recognise the lived experiences of colonised and coloniser. Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • boundaries and spatial ideology
  • colonial ethnography and representations of ethnic identity
  • colonial sources as intercultural texts
  • ecological and environmental histories
  • institutional histories
  • oral histories and folklore
  • responses to and the impact of Christian missions
  • the uses of history: museums and memorialisation
  • trade and infrastructure networks
  • tribal policy, ethnic conflict and the colonial state

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers from historians working at a local, regional or comparative level. Postgraduate students are particularly encouraged to take part. Please include the following information with your proposal:

  • Paper title and a brief abstract of no more than 300 words
  • Your name, institutional affiliation and email address
  • A short CV, no more than one page

The workshop will consist of single-session discussions; full written papers (6000 words maximum) will be pre-circulated in order to promote dialogue. We aim to bring together a dozen or more presenters over two days, and up to a further thirty participants who wish to attend without giving a formal paper. The EXTENDED deadline for proposals is 11 August, with written papers due by 3 November. Proposals and enquiries should be sent to

The workshop is a collaboration between the Universities of Delhi, Melbourne and Toronto, with financial support from the University of Melbourne’s International Research & Research Training Fund. It will be held at the Indian International Centre in Delhi.

Indian-based participants who are not in Delhi will be provided with some resources for travel and accommodation.


Associate Professor Andrew J. May (The University of Melbourne)

Dr David Zou (University of Delhi)

Assistant Professor Jayeeta Sharma (University of Toronto)

Turning Points in Asian Histories

An Asia History Hub forum, Turning Points in Asian Histories, will be held on this Friday 16 May, 10:00am – 1:00pm, in room 227, Alice Hoy Building. Please register attendance with Shan Windscript at

The focus of this forum is historiographical: shifts in the field of Asian histories, broadly considered. The aim is to exchange information, ideas, and points of view about developments in our different areas of research, and perhaps to talk, yet again, about commonalities – if they exist – between the diverse places and peoples that are subsumed under the name “Asia”. We have two speakers to kick off discussion. Readings will be provided so that we have a common platform from which to talk.

10:00 am – Dr. Samia Khatun (SHAPS) “The rise and fall of the Subaltern Studies project – from Marxist inspired histories ‘from below’ to a theoretical focus on time/space.”

11:15 am – Dr. Lewis Mayo (AI) “Rethinking the origins of Asian-Pacific capitalism: The ‘Chinese 18th century’ in Southeast Asian and world history.”

12:30 pm – Asia History Hub business meeting.

Lunch will be provided.