Theory at Work: Text, History and Culture

Theory at Work: Text, History and Culture

International Seminar

Theory at Work: Text, History and Culture

November 9-11, 2010


R. N. Rai

Professor & Head

Department of English

Faculty of Arts

Banaras Hindu University



Concept Note

The past few decades have witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of theories that has led to the emergence of new approaches to the production and critique of knowledge. Theories as such,have emerged as unbounded group of writings about various interrelated knowledge systems–anthropology,psychology, linguistics, philosophy, social and intellectual history, gender studies and mass media studies.While some theories focus on textuality, some plead for the historicity or historicisation of the text, others see the text as a socio-cultural practice but they are not mutually exclusive, they often overlapeach other. This interplay of textuality, history and culture in canonical and non-canonical texts, in past and present cultural representations, calls for explorations and interventions. While the established disciplines have incorporated many of these developments in their own objectives of study, the tensions within the fields have thrown up new dimensions that invariably demand interdisciplinary methods of inquiry. The proposed International Seminar on “Theory at Work: Text, History and Culture” intends to build upcomprehensive and broad-based theoretical and critical approaches to race, gender, nation and culture. It also seeks to generate a discursive dialogue focusing on the deployment of theories in the study of various cultural representations – visual, written, aural and gestural.

We welcome research papers from a variety of disciplinary approaches tocontemporary theories. Suggested topics may include but are not limited to the following:

Text and Meaning: Structuralism, Deconstruction, Intertextuality, Reader-Response Theory, Dialogism, Narratology.

Text and History: New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, Marxist Theory. Frankfurt School, Discourse of Power.

Text and Culture: Postmodernism, Psychoanalytical Theory, Race and Gender Studies, Postcoloniality, Multiculturalism , Subaltern Theory, Translation Studies, Literature and Film, Ecocriticism

Theory and India: Nativism, Re-reading Indian Aesthetics, Modern Indian Literary Theory, Globalism and India

An Abstract of about 300 words may be submitted electronically (as attachment in MS-word) by 31 August, 2010, to .

Name, institutional affiliation,

e-mail, standard mailing address and phone/cell number should be mentioned.


Outstation Participant:Rs.2000

Local Participant: Rs.1000

Overseas Delegate: $100

Mode of Payment

Bankers’ Cheque/ Demand Draft should be drawn in favour of “Convener, Theory at Work Seminar” payable at Varanasi.


Accommodation shall be available on the university campus on request. In case delegates wish to make their own arrangements, details of hotels will be made available to them.

The City of Varanasi

Varanasi, the holy city of India, is also known by the name of Kashiand Benaras. Flanked by two tributaries Varuna and Assi and facing the river Ganga, Varanasi is a crescent shaped land. Famous as the seat of Lord Vishwanath, it is an ancient city celebrated by Mark Twain as “older than history …older than legend” .The holy city has been a symbol of spiritualism, philosophy and mysticism for thousands of years and has produced great saints and personalities like Patanjali,Guatama Buddha, Mahavira,Shankaracharaya,Ramanuja,KabirandTulsidas. It is known for its silk weaving craft and more notably for its vibrant traditions of art, literature and music. In continuation of this rich tradition,PanditMadan Mohan Malaviya established Banaras Hindu University on 4th February 1916 with a vision to synthesize the traditional knowledge systems with science and technology. About 15 Km away is a famous Buddhist shrine at Sarnath. Varanasi is considered as the cultural capital of India. The city presents a curious blend of the spiritual and the material, tradition and modernity.


November is usually pleasant in Varanasi .Light winter clothing may be required.


Varanasi is well connected by air and rail. The university is 35 kms from the airport and about 8 kms from the railway station. The fare for pre paid taxi from the airport is Rs.600 (approx.) and Rs.250 from the railway station. Reserved auto-rickshaws at the station are availablefor about Rs.70-80. Mughalsarai, an important railway junction on the main and chord line is about 20kms from BHU. The taxi fare from Mughalsaraito BHU is Rs. 400 (approx) and auto fare is Rs. 175-200.

For further queries you may contact:

R.N. Rai

Convener, International Seminar

Professor & Head

Department of English

Banaras Hindu University

Cell: +919450545311

e -mail:



Academic Affairs Committee

Professor of English

Banaras Hindu University

Cell: +919415811957

e-mail: ;

Anita Singh


Academic Affairs Committee

Professor of English

Banaras Hindu University

Cell: +919451722121


Registration Form

Name :

Designation :

Institution :

Mailing Address :

Title of the Paper :

Date and Time of Arrival :

Date and Time of Departure :

Accommodation Required Yes/No

Accompanying Person(s) :

Details of Registration Fee :

Date :

Signature of Delegate