The Department of English Literature, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, is organising an international conference from November 19-21. Noted academics and creative writers will deliver lectures and interact with students of the university. The conference will discuss the relevance and scope of the field of English Studies in a changed scenario where vernacular literatures in translation and writers in regional languages are competing for attention. Renowned scholars such as Prof Fakrul Alam (Dhaka University), Prof Rashmi Dube Bhatnagar (Pittsburgh University), Prof Udaya Kumar (Delhi University), Prof A R Kidwai (Aligarh Muslim University), Prof Scott Kugle (Emory University), among others, will throw light on various aspects of literature as a cultural discourse during the three-day conference.
Besides the academic sessions, the highlights of the conference are the two creative writer sessions on consecutive evenings of 19and 20 November. On 19 November Githa Hariharan, noted novelist, will read from her work and speak with Prof Lakshmi Chandra on various aspects of literature, its impact on life itself and on the craft of writing fiction. The following evening will be for the poets – Keki N. Daruwalla and Shiv K. Kumar – whose work is of immense value to readers of Indian English poetry. The conference has a seemingly esoteric title: ‘Unveiling a Secret Agreement: Revisiting the Contours of English Studies’.
Interestingly, one of the main goals of the conference is to bring English Studies from the domain of the esoteric into the rich and diverse areas opened through studies on social and cultural backgrounds and works produced in translation. This is a conference that is examining where exactly to place the contours of English Studies. The conference broadly examines the conflict of interests that various disciplines have in being a part of English Studies without having to compromise on their original basis. Equally important is what role English Studies will play in opening the borders to relatively less acknowledged languages and literatures.
What the local writing will bring into the field of English Studies becomes as significant as what English Studies will contribute in shaping the local in order to make it accessible to a more global audience. The primary goal of the conference is to capture the rich diversity in the fields of English Studies. The conference has papers from the invited speakers with titles such as “Some Samples of Literary Orientalism in the Romantic Period” by Prof Abdur Raheem Kidwai from Aligarh Muslim University and “Translating Chanda: Gender Politics in the Urdu Gazal” by Dr Scott Kugle from Emory University, USA. Dr Ashley Tellis from Miranda House, Delhi University, through the title of his article “In Defence of the Canon: Re-thinking the re-thinking of English Studies in India” argues against the very process of the “re-thinking” of English Studies in India through an altogether different kind of re-thinking. Prof Sunaina Singh, Vice-Chancellor, EFLU, also a reputed literary scholar, will give the inaugural address.