National Seminar on Cosmopolitanism in Literature held at USTM

Sectarian Identity Assertion Challenge to Literature: Prof. Bhaduri

9th Mile, Khanapara, Ri Bhoi, 20 April 2018: “We must talk about cosmopolitanism as we are living in an extremely difficult time when sectarian identity assertion and fundamentalism of different form, including Nationalism, are raising their ugly heads and challenging the very foundation of humanity.” This was stated by Prof. Saugata Bhaduri, Centre for English Studies, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day national seminar on “Challenges of Cosmopolitanism in English Literature” here today. The seminar has been organized by the Department of English, University of Science & Technology, Meghalaya (USTM).

In his Keynote address, Prof. Saugata Bhaduri referred to Immanuel Kant’s essay “Perpetual Peace” and said that with increasing trade and commercial relationships among Nation States, soon war will become a thing of the past because the need for economic growth will require nations to be hospitable to each other, leading to a certain type of mutual tolerance and cosmopolitanism. He also referred to the French philosopher Jacques Derrida telling that cosmopolitanism has to emerge from cities. Deliberating on cosmopolitanism, nationalism and world literature, Prof. Bhaduri said that the purpose of literature should go beyond sectarian identity and that indigenous literature that are on the verge of vanish, can also form part of world literature.

Speaking on the inaugural session of the Seminar, Mahbubul Hoque, Chancellor, USTM said that literature has a great role to play in the society. The North East of India is a mosaic of varied tribes, ethnicity, languages and dialects where the cosmopolitan approach in literature finds validity.

Addressing the Seminar, Dr Alaka Sarma, Pro Vice Chancellor, USTM spoke on cosmopolitan culture existing in USTM and explained how cosmopolitanism gets reflected in literature. Earlier, the welcome address was presented by Dr. Pronami Bhattacharyya, Assistant Prof., Dept. of English, USTM.

Different Sessions of the National Seminar was chaired by Prof. Mala Renganathan, English Department, NEHU; Prof. Ipsita Chanda, Dept. of Comparative Literature, EFLU, Hyderabad and Prof. Anjali Daimari, Department of English, Gauhati University.

Research papers have been presented in the Seminar from different universities and colleges including Tezpur University, Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University,Cotton University, Assam University, Silchar, KK Handiqui State Open University, Nowgong Girls’ College, Handique Girls’ College, Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankaradeva Viswavidyalaya, Nagaon, Bajali College, Pathsala and Karmashree Hiteswar Saikia College, apart from the host university. Some of the papers presented in the Seminar include: “Migration and Displacement in the Parsee Context: A Reading of Select Novels”, “Identity politics in Cosmopolitan Culture: A Study of Salman Rushdie’s The Golden House”, “Cosmopolitanism VS Nationalism: A Study of Amitav Ghosh’s Shadow Lines”, “William Blake and Walt Whitman: Representing Urban Culture in Poetry”, “Coexistential Attitude towards Culture: A Study of Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memories and the City”, “A Juxtaposition of the First and Second Generation Diasporic Writers in the Context of Indian English Diasporic Literature”, etc.

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