New Delhi. : The Department of English organised Young Researchers’ Online Conference on ‘Panorama of/and the Pandemic: Literary and Cultural Response’ on 17-18 December, 2022. Ruchi Nagpal introduced the relevance of the theme of the conference how the CFP received an overwhelming response of 160 abstracts out of which 24 papers were selected and thematically structured into 6 sessions.
Prof Simi Malhotra, HoD, Department of English, JMI welcomed everyone on behalf of the robust English department. This was followed by the Inaugural Keynote Session by Dr. Saumyabrata Choudhury, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University where he delivered a lecture on “How to Create a “Panoramic Anthropology” Instead of an Anthropomorphic one – An Exercise in the Historical Intelligence of a Pandemic Situation”. The session was chaired by Steven S George and Prof. Simi Malhotra, and moderated by Aditi Das Khan. The rapporteur for the session was Ruchi Nagpal.
The first paper presentation session titled ‘Punctuating The Pandemic: Literature And Confinement’ started immediately after the inaugural session. The session was chaired by Grace Mariam Raju and had presentations by Vikram K Pancham, Indrani Dasgupta, Soumava Maiti. The rapporteur for the session was Arisha Habib.
The second paper presentation session titled ‘Pandemic Panoramas: Art In The Time Of Contagion’ was chaired by Kashish Dua and had presentations by Armeen Kaur, Nevin Dalvin, Sreerupa Bhattacharya and Saheli Biswas. The rapporteur for the session was Monib Ahmed.
The third paper presentation session titled ‘Performing The Pandemic: From The Audio- Visual To The Pedagogic’ was chaired by Indrani Dasgupta and had presentations by Vasundhara Gautam, Krishna Priya, G. Thiyagaraj and Aishwarya Kumar. The rapporteur for the session was Pakhi Jain.
The final session of Day 1 was the Special Keynote Session by Dr. Justin Weinberg, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina, Columbia delivered a lecture on “Ethics of Distinction”. The session was chaired by Ruchi Nagpal and Prof. Simi Malhtora, and moderated by Jubi C. John. The rapporteur for the session was Asmita Pandey.
Day 2 of the conference began with the fourth paper presentation titled ‘Philosophizing The Pandemic: Affect, Critique And Language’. It was chaired by Faizan Moquim and had presentations by Sayan Parial, Rimpa Mondal, Ainee Basir and Himanshu Balhara. The rapporteur for the session was Tarika.
The fifth paper presentation session titled ‘Picturing The Pandemic: Graphics, Games And Memes’ was chaired by Sudipta Agarwal and had presentations by Rashmi Sharma, Gaurav Kumar, Smriti Handoo and Meenakshi Yadav. The rapporteur for the session was Arghya Dey.
The sixth paper presentation session titled ‘Personalising The Pandemic: Ethnography Of The Self And The Other’ was chaired by Suman Bhaghchandano and had presentations by Steven S George, Zeba Munib, Shadab Anis and Devika Sharma. The rapporteur for the session was Zainab Abrar.
The final Valedictory Keynote Session was delivered by Prof. James S. Baumlin, Distinguished Professor, Department of English, Missouri State University, Springfield on “Teaching Pandemic/s: What We Have Yet to Learn (Or Are Unwilling to Admit)”. The session was chaired by Sananda Roy and Prof. Simi Malhotra, and moderated by Ann Susan Aleyas.
The rapporteur for the session was Somya Charan Pahadi. The lecture discussed the sense of loss during the Pandemic vis-à-vis the instructor/professor and the students and classroom as a Heideggerian shared space containing both language and bodies. The vote of thanks was delivered by Steven S George to humbly show gratitude to all the people who made this two day conference a success.
All the keynote sessions were attended with enthusiasm from scholars and faculty from different times zones. All the keynote speakers humbly answered several questions that were posed to them in the question & answer session.
The conference received appreciation from scholars and faculty worldwide for organising a conference on contemporary issues of the pandemic from a literary and cultural standpoint.
This conference was much applauded for envisioning ‘lived realities’ of the pandemic/post- pandemic, in order to paint a panoramic picture of the unprecedented moments. The conference through 24 papers and 3 keynote sessions attempted to evoke panoramas which stemmed from hope and salvaged humanit(y)ies, giving it a new lease of life through an academic discourse. The conference has been uploaded on Youtube for future viewership and academic engagement.
The conference was organised by Steven S George, Sananda Roy and Ruchi Nagpal who are Ph.D. scholars of the Department of English along with the Head, Prof. Simi Malhotra.
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