International Institute for Asian Studies


Call for papers

CFP RAFIL 3 - Great Asian Writers and vernacular literatures in a postcolonial perspective

'Reading Asia: Forging Identities in Literature' or short RAFIL is a consortium embodying the collaboration between a number of universities in the Asia-Pacific region with programs and projects in the field of Asian literatures. Besides NUS, its members consist of Ateneo de Manila University (Manila), Universitas Sanata Dharma (Yogyakarta), Sophia University (Tokyo) and La Trobe University (Melbourne). The two previous conferences were held in Manila (2007), and Yogyakarta (2009).

The Department of Malay Studies, FASS, National University of Singapore, and the RAFIL Consortium, will organise the Third RAFIL Consortium Conference, to be held in Singapore, on Friday to Sunday 11-13 November 2011.

The aim of RAFIL 3 will be to examine the relevance and role of four South and Southeast Asian "great writers" in postcolonial literary theory. The Conference will take the form of a small, intensive workshop, focusing on four indisputably great Asian authors – Rabindranath Tagore, Jose Rizal, Shahnon Ahmad and Pramoedya Ananta Toer – and their relationships with both vernacular and cosmopolitan South and Southeast Asian Literatures. These great authors will be discussed in papers presented by invited speakers.
It is believed that these authors have had an immense impact on the development of vernacular literatures they wrote in and which their readers used to channel their ideas. This conference seeks to gauge such imagined impact and invites reflections on these writers and the vernacular literatures from a postcolonial perspective.

We therefore invite papers specifically discussing vernacular literatures in South and Southeast Asian nations. Singapore Literature as one of these cosmopolitan literatures will be given special attention, but the workshop also invites papers on postcoloniality in other traditions.
The conference purports to be a simple but radical questioning of the usual perspective on postcolonialism that privileges the impact of the colonial experience and its aftermath on metropolitan languages and literatures. We welcome papers that deal with specific topics such as the writer and nationalism vs transnationalism, the individual in its ecological environment, the writing in its linguistic environment.

Submission of proposals:
Please send in an abstract (max. 250 words) and a biographical note (200 words) before 15 June 2011 to the administrator of the Department of Malay Studies ( Successful applicants will be informed by mid July at the latest. Partial funding will be available for presenters from Southeast Asia.