Bon Jour : A French meet at JNU
Five writers from different countries are set to take part in a conference titled “Voyages, Discovery and Meetings” at Jawaharlal Nehru University here, being organised to popularise writing in French written by people from various nationalities.
The conference will particularly focus on French writing by descendants of 19th Century Indian immigrants from Puducherry and Bengal who immigrated to islands in the Indian Ocean for work.
Language and Dance
Prof. K. Madavane of the JNU Centre for French and Francophone Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, who is organising the conference, said : “The conference will emphasise on quality French writing in India as well.”
A dance by a French professor, also a Bharatanatyam dancer, will take place at Alliance Francaise on February 23, 2011 which is the inaugural day of the conference. The conference will continue till February 26, 2011.
The papers to be presented at the conference will focus on the condition of Indian immigrants settled in the Indian Ocean islands, their problems and how they have been received and treated by the locals. Another session will focus on comparative studies with other literature and how literature emerging from the Indian Ocean is different from other literatures.
“Many elements of mythic India come out in the writing of descendants of Indian immigrants. The commonality of cultural traits, food habits and religious practices with India is also reflected in their writings,” Prof. Madavane said.
While Axel Gauvin from Reunion Island and Carl de Souza from Mauritius are descendants of Indian immigrants and write in French; Alem Kangni from Togo, Zahia Rahmani of Algeria and Jean Luc Outers of Belgium are also French writers. A round – table discussion will be held amog these writers.
There will be panel discussions on multiculturalism, Indian influence on French painting and vice – versa, Mauritius literature and culture, literature of the Caribbean Islands, Algerian French literature, how African literature is perceived outside Africa, French legal systems in Puducherry and other French colonies in India during the 18th Century.
UGC nod for New Centres at JNU
The University Grants Commission has approved the establishing of four new centres at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Three of the proposed new centres are part of the School of Social Sciences while one is a special autonomous centre.
Prof. Deepak Kumar, head of the proposed Centre for Media Research, said the centre will focus on research and not on media studies which is the common focus of many institutions.
The centre will aim to develop a critical understanding about the media and its engagement with society, polity and economy in India.
It will also engage itself with determining and studying factors influencing the media and search for alternative niches through new media for instance.
According to Prof. Kumar, the centre should be functional in a year or two. The initial programs on offer will be M. Phil and Ph. D. programs.
Centre for the Studies of the Informal Economy head Prof. Amitabh Kundu said : “The informal economy is a significant emerging field of study in India and not much research has been done in this area.
The centre will aim to focus on the informal economy in all its dimensions and explore its importance.”
Efforts would be made to have the centre functional in a year, he added.
The third centre at the School of Social Sciences is the North-East Studies Research Centre.
According to Special Centre for Nano Science chairperson Prof. Sanjay Puri, the aim of the centre is to be “at the cutting edge of research in nano technology.”
The centre will be a special autonomous centre in JNU and will not be part of any school.