Since the 1980s, Indian diaspora conferences have been organized to exchange knowledge about the practice of indentured labour, disparate experiences, research ideas, and future plans. The perspective was predominantly historical, although the conferences included contemporary topics. The themes of the conferences were not demarcated; in fact, all subjects were welcomed. As a result, the papers presented dealt with a wide array of topics. Looking back, it should be acknowledged that these conferences have yielded a huge amount of knowledge about the ‘indenture experience’. Today, the research field is almost exhaustively documented. This is the reason to move forward to new eras in the Indian experience and to new disciplinary perspectives.
In this international conference we would like to broaden the scope on the Indian diaspora from the experience of plantation economies. All these segments of the Indian diaspora have in common that they are linked with India (even if only for the consumption of Bollywood), are involved in homemaking practices, deal with legal issues when migrating, and exert influence in their societies of origin. Consequently, in this conference we would like to explore contemporary topics from new disciplinary areas, such as anthropology, economics, law, politics, sociology, geography, art and media, and of course, from history.
The Indian diaspora is a fragmented whole that largely consists of first- and later-generation migrants to Western societies (USA, Canada, Australia, UK – mostly NRIs), indentured labourers and their descendants of whom some migrated to Western societies, while others migrated to Asian and African societies. The forging of relations out of these shattered communities has increasingly been assisted by electronic media, specifically the Internet. This occurs, for example, in Bollywood, but also in other fields of representations. However, the diaspora has been conceptualized from India, or with India as its center. As a result, we are missing the perspectives from other societies outside India on India and on societies part of their diaspora. So perspectives can be many and may yield interesting and challenging views on and from the Indian diaspora.
The conference runs for three days. Each day covers a central theme and will be opened with a lecture.