Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chandigarh Conference

February 13-15, 2006
The Centre for the Study of Mid-West and Central Asia, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India and Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence, University of Tampere, Finland jointly organised an international conference on Revisting ‘Euro-Asia’: Cultures, Connections and Conceptualizations during February 13-15, 2006 at the ICSSR Complex located in the Panjab University Campus of Chandigarh. The InternationalGeographical Union and the World Commission of Political Geography sponsored the conference. Scholars from India, Malaysia and Finland took part in this conference. Professor K.N. Pathak, Vice Chancellor of Panjab University welcomed the participants. Before the formal deliberations began, Dr. Jyrki Kakonen, Jean Monnet Professor, University of Tampere introduced the conference. His Excellency Asko Numminen, Ambassador of Finland to India, delivered the inaugural address while Professor Siddiq Wahid, Vice Chancellor, Islamic University of Technology, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Sanjay Chaturvedi, Honorary Director of the host Centre offered a vote of thanks at the end of the inaugural session. The Calcutta Research Group (CRG) sponsored two sessions of this conference. One was on “Nations, Migration and Citizenship: European-Indian Experiences”, and the other was on “Citizenship, Migration and Autonomy: Gender Perspectives”. Dr. Bishnu Mohapatra of the Ford Foundation, New Delhi, chaired the first one. Dr. Samir Kumar Das and Dr. Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury spoke on behalf of the CRG. Dr. Das presented a paper on “Contesting Citizenship in an Age of Forced Migration: Two Case Studies from India”. He primarily dealt with the experiences of the Assam Movement (1979-85) and Gorkhaland Movement (1986-88). Dr. Basu Ray Chaudhury presented a paper on “Being and Belongingness: Democratic Citizenship in South Asia”. He offered a critical account of the exclusionary tensions of citizenship in South Asia and examined how the trans-national social spaces emerging in the context of migratory and refugee flows over the years have put pressures on the democratic character of the post-colonial states ans societies in the region. Dr. Mika Altola of the University of Tampere spoke on “Corporate Communities of Practices and Homogenizing Pressures of Globalization”. In the other session sponsored by the CRG, Dr. Paula Banerjee spoke on “Women’s Autonomy in the Age of Migration and Security”. She addressed the questions related to women’s autonomy in India and analysed its location within different available discourses. Professor Rajesh Gill of the Department of Sociology, Panjab University, presented a paper entitled “Caught between the Domestic and Public Spheres: Women as a Pendulum”. Ms. Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Finland in India, chaired this session. Dr. Ranabir Samaddar, Director, CRG, delivered the Valedictory Address at the end of the three-day conference. He spoke on the immigration and the possibilities of trans-national citizenship. His lecture was a take on Etienne Balibar’s We the People of Europe. Dr. Samaddar also chaired a session earlier, which was on “New Great Games and Beyond” and it mainly dealt with the emerging geopolitical scenario in Euro-Asia.

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