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Centre for the Study of Discrimination and Exclusion
School of Social Sciences


Cordially invite paper for the International Conference on

Marginality(ies), Minor(ity) Cultures and Identities

Date: 16th-17th January, 2017
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


Concept Note:
The concept of marginality has endured a chequered history due to lack precision and disparate usage. Simmel's "stranger" and Park and Stonequist's "marginal man" are classic examples of open marginality as exemplified by religious, caste, racial, linguistic, ethnic and nationality groups. Opposed to "open" marginality, individuals who are standing in the interstices between or among groups, who share a feeling of both belonging and not-belonging to particular groups, or who do not feel that the label of margin fits them, or their feelings but are systemizing and rationalising their feelings in terms of socially-given definition are seen as the bearer of "secret" marginality by David Reisman. It suggests that conditions for marginality are ubiquitous but always exist with some degree of difference and change. This seminar will explore an amorphous dichotomy of secret and open marginality by addressing those societal conditions, influences, and agents which are conducive in transforming subjective/private to objective/public marginality(ies) but, without undermining the secret marginalities that an individual observes on a quotidian basis.

Ethnic identity is a product of classification of people according to their origins however; cultural and symbolic content accretes to the classification. Convergence of numbers and origin based classification shapes the dichotomy of ethnic majority and minority in the modern nation-state. Apart from statistics, stereotypes, rumours, memories of communal violence and myths are the potential agents of the construction thus, trimming the dichotomy. But it is important to construe that how meanings are created, prevailed and persisted in day-to-day life. Explicit and implicit ordeals of invisibilization, victimization, discrimination may be reinforcing the notion of open and secrete marginality respectively, but what is latent, is how certain knowledge percolates as "self-evident" without a rigour of objective methodology.

In view of this, an attempt will be made to understand the concept of minority which is invariably gauged through experiences of the (un)wanted memories of territorial violence, communal riots, threats, discrimination and exclusion from the economic, political and social life along with feeling of marginality. This brings to a pertinent question, as to how to explain diversity among ethnic minorities in India, is violence the necessary concomitant attribute in the formation of minority, if not, then what are other attributes? How do ethnic categories arise in social situations, become meaningful to the participants and relate to each other? Finally, the proposed seminar attempts to promote a discursive practice in the understanding of marginalities, ethnic minority(ies) and thus, minor culture(s).

Sub-themes of the seminar:
• Stereotypes , prejudices and identity formation
• Critical thinking on religious content of ethnic minority 
• History and the conceptual discourse of minority
• Collective memories of communal violence 
• Formation of categories and idea of marginalilty


The participants are requested to submit the papers on the themes discussed in the above mentioned concept note. An abstract (not exceeding 300 words) of the paper should reach on or before 30th December, 2016 and a full length paper should reach on or before 12th January, 2017 on an e-mail address- The abstract must contain the title of the paper, 4-5 keywords and affiliation of author(s).

Conveners: Dr. Rosina Nasir (CSDE)


A warm welcome to the modified and updated website of the Centre for East Asian Studies. The East Asian region has been at the forefront of several path-breaking changes since 1970s beginning with the redefining the development architecture with its State-led development model besides emerging as a major region in the global politics and a key hub of the sophisticated technologies. The Centre is one of the thirteen Centres of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi that provides a holistic understanding of the region.

Initially, established as a Centre for Chinese and Japanese Studies, it subsequently grew to include Korean Studies as well. At present there are eight faculty members in the Centre. Several distinguished faculty who have now retired include the late Prof. Gargi Dutt, Prof. P.A.N. Murthy, Prof. G.P. Deshpande, Dr. Nranarayan Das, Prof. R.R. Krishnan and Prof. K.V. Kesavan. Besides, Dr. Madhu Bhalla served at the Centre in Chinese Studies Programme during 1994-2006. In addition, Ms. Kamlesh Jain and Dr. M. M. Kunju served the Centre as the Documentation Officers in Chinese and Japanese Studies respectively.

The academic curriculum covers both modern and contemporary facets of East Asia as each scholar specializes in an area of his/her interest in the region. The integrated course involves two semesters of classes at the M. Phil programme and a dissertation for the M. Phil and a thesis for Ph. D programme respectively. The central objective is to impart an interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of history, foreign policy, government and politics, society and culture and political economy of the respective areas. Students can explore new and emerging themes such as East Asian regionalism, the evolving East Asian Community, the rise of China, resurgence of Japan and the prospects for reunification of the Korean peninsula. Additionally, the Centre lays great emphasis on the building of language skills. The background of scholars includes mostly from the social science disciplines; History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, International Relations and language.

Several students of the centre have been recipients of prestigious research fellowships awarded by Japan Foundation, Mombusho (Ministry of Education, Government of Japan), Saburo Okita Memorial Fellowship, Nippon Foundation, Korea Foundation, Nehru Memorial Fellowship, and Fellowship from the Chinese and Taiwanese Governments. Besides, students from Japan receive fellowship from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.