International Institute for Asian Studies


Call for papers

'Border Thinking' Gender in South Asia

In South Asia we are at a critical juncture in the post-colonial history where countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are participating in the hegemonic global capitalist order of production and consumption, whilst also grappling with the rise of fundamentalism(s) on questions of national and group identity, models of development or integration into global capitalism. We see various political and socio-economic forces claiming legitimacy and even superiority of their epistemic traditions. What all fundamentalisms share (including the Eurocentric one) is the premise that there is only a single epistemic tradition from which to achieve Truth and Universality. It is in this context of multiple-fundamentalism(s) around relations of economic and cultural (re)production in South Asia that we situate the need for ‘Border thinking’. For Mignolo and Tlostanova (2006:208) “Borders are not only geographic but also political, subjective (e.g. cultural) and epistemic…the very concept of border implies the existence of people, languages, religions and knowledge on both sides linked through relations established by the coloniality of power (e.g. structured by the imperial and colonial differences).” Viewed in this way borders are not an outcome of natural or divine historical processes in human history, but were created in the very constitution of the modern/colonial world (i.e. in the imaginary of Western and Atlantic capitalist empires). Within the intellectual traditions of thinking/practicing de-colonisation we contend that border thinking involves two main tasks. Firstly, it brings to the fore situated, ‘lived’, ‘southern’, ‘subaltern’ understandings of the world (Connell, 2006). Secondly, border thinking disrupts taken for granted ‘colonial’ identity categories through which knowledge is produced and organized. Theories that rely on notions of gender, class, race, (as well as nation, caste, religion, ethnicity, etc.) then become problematic because they rely to ascribing essentialist attributes to their members. Cornwall and Lindisfame, (2011:38) say “category creation itself is an act of power,” to change this asymmetrical global colonial power structure the decolonisation project needs to challenge, re-frame and re-order some of these categories of analysis. Understood in this way decolonisation involves an engagement with global times that is no longer premised either on Eurocentrism, modernization theory or other forms of Western universalism, or on Third Worldism, nativism and parochially anti-Western views (Pietrese and Parikh, 1997). As gender permeates the discourses and enactments of colonization and is an inseparable part of creating ‘others’ through the coloniality of power, the construction and performance of gender and gender relations has been paramount to the process of decolonisation (Schiwy, 2007). This special issue invites contributions to extend and apply the concept of ‘border thinking’ to assess the politics of gender in South Asia. 

A full call for papers is available at: 

Necessary Information

Journal: Third World Thematics: A third world quarterly journal

Deadline: 31/10/2018

Word count: 7000-8000 words

Editors: Nazia Hussein, Birmingham City University ( and Saba Hussain, University of Warwick (

Interested authors are encouraged to discuss thier paper ideas  (abstracts) with the editors before submission.