University of Hawaii Manoa Center for South Asian Studies Spring Symposium: South Asian Futures


DATE: April 10-12, 2024
SUBMIT ABSTRACTS BY: January 31, 2024
LOCATION: University of Hawaii at Manoa

About the symposium:

The symposium aims to provide a platform for scholars and visionaries to engage in discussion, share insight and explore the diverse dimensions of futures as imagined, and as people have striven to realize them, from South Asian perspectives, including diaspora and transnational perspectives. 

We invite contributions that engage with ideas of the future from a variety of approaches. We welcome work that considers the possibilities of various alternative future trajectories; critical analysis of futurisms in fiction, visual arts, film, performance, or other expressive practices; historical engagement with prior orientations toward the future and their continued impact; ethnographic and historical analysis of movements aiming to build better futures; and more. We are especially interested in work oriented toward futures that are just, inclusive, equitable, sustainable, and allow collective flourishing. 

Imagination: In what visionary ways are futures being imagined and expressed through artistic and activist praxis, and combinations of the two? How do imaginative works, practices, and processes challenge current orders and envision and shape new ones? 

Futures Past: Imperialist projects of surveillance and categorization of humans and nonhuman entities toward orderly colonial governance laid the divisive groundwork that still influences South Asia’s present social, political, and economic orders. Twentieth-century ideologies of modernization and development set the wheels of these same social, political, and economic orders turning toward an imagined future of material prosperity and freedoms defined in terms of the global north. Various future-oriented movements have arisen and faded away; what did they offer in their times, and what are their legacies and residual appeals? How were they countered?

Trends and Trajectories: Multiple current trends have implications for the future of South Asia and the world. For example, the rise of authoritarianism and movements resisting its reach; technological advancements and disruptions; global climate change; geopolitical shifts and realignments; and cultural and societal transformations at multiple levels. How might these current trends and trajectories lead us to envision various scenarios of the future and to act accordingly? Also, how might historical trends and trajectories serve as predictive models for envisioning and shaping futures from a variety of perspectives, from policy to design to social and environmental justice and more? 

We welcome original research in the form of theoretical explorations or case studies. This interdisciplinary symposium encourages conversations among the arts, humanities, and social sciences, including but not limited to approaches and disciplines such as Anthropology, Architecture and Design, Art History and Criticism, Dance Studies, Disability Studies, Economics, Education, Futures Studies, Geography, History, Human-Computer Interaction, Indigenous Studies, Languages and Linguistics, Literary Studies, Music Studies, Political Science, Performance Studies, Queer Studies, Religious Studies, Sociology, South Asian Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, etc. 

Keynote Speakers:

Vijay Prashad, Sadaf Padder, Ritodhi Chakraborty, Subash Thebe Limbu

Submission Details: 

We ask for an abstract of 250 words. Preference will be given to abstracts that follow the guidelines below.

Guidelines for writing abstracts:

  1. Clearly state the central research question/purpose of the project AND articulate the paper’s argument. 
  2. Provide brief, relevant context (no citations required, but may refer to works and/or authors by name) that shows why the paper is important to its area of inquiry.
  3. Provide a brief description of the research methodology.
  4. State conclusions and relate them to the argument and context of the research. 

Guidelines for formatting abstracts:

  1. Be aware that we will receive the abstract as all one paragraph and format accordingly. 
  2. Proofread for typos, etc. 
  3. Leave out diacritics, symbols, or other characters not included in the basic Roman alphabet – we can’t guarantee that they will look the same to us as they do to you. There is a place in the abstract submission form for links in case it’s important to your abstract to use such characters; you can link to your preferentially-formatted abstract there. 

Symposium Structure: 

The Symposium will take place in person at the University of Hawaii, with a virtual presentation option for those who cannot attend in person. The aim of this symposium is to foster community and scholarly exchange among people working on South Asian Futures, so we strongly encourage in person participation whenever possible. 

Presentations will be 20 minutes long, and each session will have 20 minutes for discussion at the end. A moderator will facilitate the timely completion of sessions and help field questions. When available, some panels may include discussants; this will not require any extra preparation from presenters.

SUBMISSIONS OPEN: October 15, 2023



Contact Information

For more information please contact with the subject “Spring Symposium.” We look forward to hearing from you.