Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Two-Day National Seminar

Forum on Contemporary Theory

Silver Jubilee Year (1989-2014)

A Two-Day National Seminar

“Theorizing Today—25 Years Later”

10-11 February 2014

Venue: Centre for Contemporary Theory, Baroda

You will be happy to know that the Forum on Contemporary Theory, which was formally launched at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda on February 2 in 1989, will be entering its Silver Jubilee year in 2014. As some of you may recall, the inaugural lecture for the Forum was delivered by Professor Fred Dallmayr from the University of Notre Dame, USA, who was visiting Baroda then, on February 10, 1989; the topic of the lecture “Theorizing Today” discussed Theory as an inter-disciplinary field of knowledge and its efficacy to the study of the humanities and social sciences. The lecture in fact paved the way for the Forum’s future engagement with theory and its application. Professor Dallmayr continues to be associated with the Forum in various capacities. With the financial assistance from the Ford Foundation from 2005 to 2013, the Forum established the Centre for Contemporary Theory in Baroda and instituted several kinds of fellowships for scholars from India and South Asia to visit Baroda . Although the Ford Foundation grant will come to an end in September 2013, some of the activities of the Forum will continue due to occasional grants provided by individuals and institutions in India and abroad. During its two decades of existence, it has earned some reputation in India and abroad as a preeminent institution dedicated to theoretical and conceptual studies, in the humanities and social sciences.  
As part of its silver jubilee celebration, we have planned this two-day seminar to critically assess the status of “theorizing today” twenty-five years after the founding of the Forum; it is a way of remembering the 1980s when Theory was a dominant force in the humanities and social sciences, and to map its trajectory from that moment and its possible future direction. As you know, Theory has undergone several changes of emphasis during these decades; from its initial focus on Western theory, the Forum has made a shift to theories of the “global south” without jettisoning their Western context and filiation. The seminar will try to examine the state of theory and its academic and institutional relevance now. Professor Arjun Appadurai has accepted our invitation to give the keynote address. We had invited Professor Dallmayr to be with us on this momentous occasion, but he expressed his inability to undertake a long journey due to his advancing age. But he has promised to mail us a paper to be read out on the occasion.  
The Forum is not in a position to pay for those who will come from outside Baroda . But it should be possible to extend hospitality to those whose papers are accepted for presentation. Those who are interested in participating in this event and present papers are urged to send their abstracts by December 15, 2013 to Prafulla Kar (  

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