The First International Conference on Critical South Asian Death Studies


The First International Conference on Critical South Asian Death Studies

18th-20th of April 2024 | University of Münster


The long twentieth century has been regarded variably as a ‘century of death’ (Radomska et. al., 2019; Ericksen, 2012). The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have witnessed a proliferation of academic literature inquiring experiences of death and mourning. While much has been penned about the paradigms of death in the ‘Global North,’ there exists uneven temporalities in the academic reception of death, specifically in South Asian contexts. Death Studies as a discipline is widely conceived from within individualist, white Western hegemonies and through their appendant epistemologies that foreclose engagements with, among others, South Asian relationalities, belief systems, and established structures of mourning (see Radomska et al., 2020; Thacker and Duran, 2020). The First International Conference on Critical South Asian Death Studies situates itself in this gap, paying heed to critical approaches to death, dying, grieving and end-of-life care in South Asia; mobilizing critical, intersectional, and radical contextualisms that emphasize distinct bio-medical, metaphorical, cultural, and social forms of death.

As such, this conference locates itself within traditions of Critical South Asian Death Studies (CSADS), which operationalises such a lens to mark a departure from conventional death research and practice by centring the deep complexities of South Asia. Death, argues Wilson (2014), constitutes an integral moment of transition, both for the living and the dead, in different South Asian traditions. Particularly, performances of mortality simultaneously cater to the exercise of necropower, and exaction of necropolitics (Mbembe, 2003; see also Prakash & Kennedy, 2021). This becomes distinctly important in anthropocenic scenarios of planetary environmental degradation that transform certain landscapes into unlivable spaces, and certain lives as ‘un/grievable’ deaths (Butler, 2004; Radomska et. al 2019). CSADS, then, attends to, in a norm-critical manner, the necropolitical agendas that underlie the concerns of positionality in South Asia. It calls attention to the varied socio-cultural, economic, political, historical, ethical, ontological and epistemological aspects that underpin South Asianness, with a distinct resonance to experiences of ‘marginalisation.’ Not only so, but it also centres empowering narratives of postcolonial reclamations, subversive necropolitics, non-textual spaces, and oral histories. As such, CSADS attempts to go beyond disciplinary bounds, paying heed to chrono-, bio-, and life-normative structures.

With the commencement of the new year, we are delighted to share the overwhelmingly positive response to our call for papers, receiving over a hundred high-quality abstracts from scholars, artists, and poets from around the globe, all engaging with various facets of death as it manifests in South Asia.

As such, we are enthused to invite you to attend our upcoming conference on the 18th-20th of April 2024. The Conference is free to attend and is open to both online and in-person attendance. Kindly follow this link to access and complete the attendance form

As we gear up for the Conference, we are enthused by the confirmation of our keynote speakers, namely, Prof. Dr. Ravi Nandan Singh (Associate Professor of Sociology at Shiv Nadar University,), Prof. Dr. Joeeta Pal (Lecturer, Miranda College, University of Delhi), Dr. h.c. P. Sainath (Founder, People’s Archive of Rural India), and Bezwada Wilson (Founder, Safai Karamchari Andolan). More information about the team and speakers can be found here:

Should you have any inquiries or require assistance to make your attendance more inclusive and comfortable, please do not hesitate to contact us at