SOAS event to commemorate 70 years of India’s journey as a Constitutional Republic

SOAS South Asia Institute is hosting an interdisciplinary conference on January 20 next year to commemorate 70 years of the Indian Republic. Conceived of as an event that brings together young researchers and senior academics to exchange ideas and share the progress of ongoing research work on the proposed theme, the Conference will also aim to contribute to the popular discourse on the legacy of India’s Constitution. Renowned legal scholar and Professor Emeritus of Law in Development at University of Warwick Upendra Baxi will be delivering the keynote address at the event. Other distinguished guest speakers drawn from the worlds of academia and activism will also address the gathering at the event.

Interested scholars are welcome to send in their abstracts by September 30. Selected scholars will have an opportunity to not only receive feedback on their work from a panel of senior academics but also stand a chance to be published.

Call for Abstracts 

SOAS South Asia Institute invites Ph.D. students and early-career researchers in any social science discipline to submit abstracts for a conference commemorating ‘70 years of the Indian Republic’.

In 2020, India will complete 70 years as a Constitutional Republic. According to B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, it was only after adopting this text in 1950 that India became truly independent from colonial rule. The text of the Constitution not only prioritised the idea of popular sovereignty but also sought a radical departure from the past by empowering the lower castes and other marginalised sections of Indian society.

Despite the emancipatory agenda, substantial portions of the Constitution reflected a continuation of colonial practices (sedition, secrets and emergency provisions). While recent scholarship has questioned the largely celebratory tone in which the Indian Constitution is discussed, further critical engagement with the legacy of the Constitution is important and timely.

Thematic sessions in the conference will engage with the values of the Constitution, addressing themes such as the welfare state, fundamental rights, secular democracy and freedom of religion and popular sovereignty.

Abstracts should not exceed 400 words and should summarise the ideas to be elaborated in the paper, stressing why this is significant for a conference commemorating 70 years of India as a republic. Scholarship should be original and unpublished as the conference organisers hope to take select presentations forward to publication. Please include a short bio-note and attach an academic CV along with your submission. Submit abstracts to [email protected] by September 30, 2019.