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Call for Submissions – Indentured Labour Anthology ENDS 5th June


Commonwealth Writers and the School of Advanced Study, University of London, are looking for submissions from writers whose heritage includes the experience of indentured labour.

The anthology (title tbc) will include poetry, nonfiction and fiction and will be published in 2018 by the School of Advanced Study to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of indentured labour. Twenty of the 52 countries of the Commonwealth were affected by indentured labour migration in the twentieth century. The anthology will explore and be shaped by the legacy of indentured labour.

All writers from the Commonwealth are eligible.


Please submit only ONE of the following:

One Poem or

One nonfiction proposal or

One short story

Please ensure your name, the title and page numbers are included on the document you submit.

The length of the short story/nonfiction should be between 1,500 and 5,000 words. Please include a short biography, stating what your nationality is, and your writing history.

Send your submissions to: commonwealthwriters@gmail.com. Please write ‘Indentured Labour Anthology’ in the subject heading.


The three editors are:

David Dabydeen

Academic Professor David Dabydeen is one of the leading writers of the Indian indentured experience in the Caribbean. He worked at the University of Warwick’s Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies for over two decades. An award-winning poet and novelist he has written extensively on migration, belonging and identity. In addition to his work in the academy, Professor Dabydeen has taken part in a number of programmes for British radio and television. Most recently he worked on the series Neither Here nor There for BBC Radio Four. He has served as Guyana’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and from 2010 to 2015 he was Guyana’s Ambassador to China.

Maria Del Pilar Kaladeen

Maria del Pilar Kaladeen is an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London. Her work as an academic focuses on colonial writing on the system of indenture in Guyana and she is currently working on the publication of a monograph on this subject. Maria has a strong interest in the promotion of academic knowledge through public and community engagement She has designed and led academic projects that involved knowledge exchange activities with London’s homeless. Work by Maria will appear in an anthology of personal writing, by women from the Guyanese diaspora, this autumn.

Tina K. Ramnarine

Tina K. Ramnarine is a musician, anthropologist and global cultural explorer. She researches performance, politics and arts responses to global challenges. Her publications include the books Creating Their Own Space: The Development of an Indian-Caribbean Musical Tradition (2001), Ilmatar’s Inspirations: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Changing Soundscapes of Finnish Folk Music (2003), Beautiful Cosmos: Performance and Belonging in the Caribbean Diaspora (2007), and the edited volumes Musical Performance in the Diaspora (2007) and Global Perspectives on Orchestras: Collective Creativity and Social Agency (2017). She is Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London.

www.commonwealthwriters.org | @cwwriters

www.sas.ac.uk | @PoCoSaS


Indenture to Windrush: Invisible Passengers of Two Imperial Migrations



2017 is the centenary of the abolition of indenture in the British Empire (1834-1917). Yet the system of indenture, under which the British brought Chinese and East Indians to the Caribbean to labour on the region’s sugar plantations, is a largely unknown part of British imperial history. Another chapter in British imperial history marks almost seventy years, this is the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks (1948). Over the next fifteen years followed the arrival of what came to be known as the ‘Windrush generation’ (1948-1963). These pioneering Caribbean migrants included the descendants of indentured immigrants to the Caribbean. In this live oral history event, these migrants and their children discuss their experiences as minorities within a minority, living and working in a British society which is on the whole unaware of the Indian and Chinese presence in the Caribbean.

This lively evening event will include a commemorative reading by David Dabydeen, award-winning poet and novelist. Other featured speakers include the journalist and writer Lainy Malkani, leading novelist of the Indo-Caribbean experience Lakshmi Persaud, TV presenter and author of The Pepperpot Club Jonathan Phang, community worker Sr. Monica Tywang and Rod Westmaas – the co-curator of the monthly spoken word event Guyana Speaks! Join us at Senate House for oral history, music and literature chaired by the co-authors of Windrush: The Irresisitible Rise of Multicultural Britain: Mike Phillips OBE (historian and novelist) and Trevor Phillips OBE (former head of the Commission for Racial Equality)

Book here

Call for Papers



Invisible Republic: Music, Lettrism, Avant-Gardes | International Conference on Music, Avant-Gardes and Counterculture

October 25-27, 2017 Deadline: May 25

Venue: University of Lisbon, School of Arts and Humanities and Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT)

Conference organized by: Anabela Duarte (ULisboa) and Andrew Hussey (ULondon)

Organizing Entities: University of Lisbon, ULICES and University of London, SAS, CPS

Keynote Speakers: Frédéric Acquaviva, experimental composer and curator (FR), Kaira Cabañas, Associate Professor in Global Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Florida (US), Clinton Heylin, Music and Pop Culture Historian (GB), Bronac Ferran, writer and curator at the University of London (GB), Kevin Repp, Professor and Curator at the Beinecke Library, Yale University (US), Andrew Hussey, Professor of Cultural History at the University of London

In Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes (1997), Greil Marcus charts a countercultural sound map, a kind of laboratory where a new language is being forged. This is where, Marcus argues, we can locate the true voice of the century, a new consciousness, the alchemy of an undiscovered country. From this starting-point, we propose a journey into the tangled relationship between music, the avant-gardes and counterculture.

In 1942, Isidore Isou, a Jew from Romania, created in Bucharest an artistic and cultural trend that claimed for a “new republic” of letters. He brought it to Paris in 1945, and this became “Lettrism”, one of the most inventive but also one of the most unknown movements of the post-war avant-gardes. In 1947, he published a manifesto, an introduction to a new poetry and a new music that set forth Lettrism as a general movement of creation, a poetry liberated from words and syntax, and a number of propositions that constitute a fundamental historical link between the modern and the contemporary.

Lettrism, it has been argued, was the progenitor of future upheavals and revolts, such as May ‘68, Punk, Situationism, Fluxus, among others. Music and sound, in this context, are powerful instruments of destruction and/or reconfiguration of language and the Arts. The connection between writing and auditory experience becomes the experience itself – back to Dylan: the lab of the basement tapes.

In diagrammatic opposition – literally on the other side of the ocean – in the 1960s, another counterculture was getting under way. From Bucharest to Paris, London to New York, Paris to Brasil, Cuba or Chile, to name just a few, the same urge for the unknown, for destruction and anti-art poetics emerged almost simultaneously in every field.

The present conference aims at exploring and bringing to the fore the “invisible republics” of culture, the ephemeral, the suppressed, the unconformity of artistic and political undercurrents. Above all, it asks how these separate geographical territories speak to each other, and how this might reshape our historical understanding of European and American modernity.

We encourage contributions from scholars and artists of different fields and welcome suggestions for papers, panels, sessions and multimedia proposals.
The Conference is hosted by the American Studies Research Group of the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES/CEAUL), Portugal, in collaboration with the Centre for Postcolonial Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.


Decentering the Avant-Gardes

The possible significance of the fact that Tristan Tzara and other Dadaists, leading Surrealists and Isidore Isou were from Eastern Europe. What can this tell us about “Western” modernity, cultural dissonances and the Post-Colonial world.

Music/Sound/Soundscape and Literature

Bob Dylan and the Subterranean America, Sound-Art, Sound Poetry, Physical Poetry, The Aesthetics of Noise.

Politics and Aesthetics of Invisibility

Representations of the withdrawn, haunting absences, masks and camouflaging, minorisation, détournement, dissolution, discrepancy, interruption, the invisible, the repressed.

Transatlantic Avant-Gardes and Counterculture

New York Dada, Black Mountain College, Beat Generation, Language Poets, Concretism, Latin-American Authors, Modern Hurufiyya, Youth Underground, Diggers’ legacy.

Avant-Gardes Revisited

Dadaism, Surrealism, Ultra-Lettrism, Schematism, Situationism, Punk, Fluxus, Russian Ego- Futurism, Constructivism, Italian Futurism, Portuguese Avant-Gardes.

Politics and Poetics of Difference

Erotic Studies, Pedagogics of Art, Insurrectional Romanticism, Anti-psychiatry, Antonin Artaud.

New Poetic Languages, Cinema and Technology

Bio Art, Bio Poetry, Remediation, Postmodern Multimedia Avant-Garde Creativity, Lettrist Cinema, American Experimental Film.

For more information, please check the conference’s website

Address abstracts and inquiries by email to: Dr. Anabela Duarte

University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES) Alameda da Universidade
Faculdade de Letras
1600-214 Lisboa

E-mail: invisiblerepubliconference@gmail.com

Tel: (00351) 21 792 00 92
Website: https://invisiblerepublic.info/


Indenture Abolition Centenary Conference


Call for papers

2017 International Conference on the Centenary of the
Abolition of Indentureship in the British Empire

Senate House, University of London

6­-7 October 2017


The School of Advanced Study

Royal Holloway University of London

The Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick

We are delighted to announce a call for papers for an interdisciplinary conference marking the centenary of the abolition of indentureship in the British Empire. The conveners wish to place special emphasis on new research in the field of indentureship studies. Three early career scholars, working on different aspects of the indenture system and its legacies, will deliver the joint keynote address to this conference. In addition, confirmed speakers include Grace Anezia Ali, Ananda Devi, Prof. Heidi Safia Mirza, Dr Nalini Mohabir, Dr Sumita Mukherjee, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Dr Atreyee Phukan, Dr Anna Schultz, Prof. Brinsley Samaroo, Agnes Sam and Prof. Clem Seecharan.

 Keynote Speakers

Reshaad Durgahee (PhD Candidate, University of Nottingham)

Gitanjali Pyndiah (PhD Candidate, Goldsmiths, University of London)

Dr Kavyta Raghunandan (Associate Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies)

The abolition of slavery was the catalyst to the arrival of the first Indian labourers in the sugar colonies of Mauritius (1834), Guyana (1838) and Trinidad (1845). This was followed by the inception of indentureship in South Africa (1860) and Fiji (1879). By the time indentureship was abolished in the British Empire (1917), over one million Indians had been contracted under this system of labour, the overwhelming majority of this number never returned to India.

Opposition to indentureship was present throughout the system. Intermittently, politicians, missionaries and members of the colonial judiciary argued indentureship constituted nothing more than ‘a new system of slavery’. On the plantations, resistance was demonstrated in collective and individual action directed against plantocracies and the colonial government. This was manifested in high suicide rates (Fiji and South Africa) and labour strikes and protests (Guyana and Trinidad). In India, the activism of nationalists and returned labourers arguably proved to be the most significant destabilising force to indentureship.

Research and reflection on the history of indentureship and the Indian experience was undertaken in the final stages of British imperial belonging (Ruhomon, 1938). In some cases, such research pointed to ongoing relations with India (Vatuk, 1964). In others, writers focused on their own place in a national history (Gillon, 1962 and Nath, 1950). From the 1980s onwards, a more concentrated focus on the history of indentureship emerged (Dabydeen and Samaroo, 1987). This research underpinned postcolonial readings of the cultural and creative legacies of Indian indentured experiences, especially in relation to music (Ramnarine, 2001, Niranjana, 2006) and literature (Subramani, 1979, Birbalsingh, 1989).

Scholarship on the system of indenture and its legacies is being further established and, in addition, undertakings such as the UNESCO International Indentured Labour Route Project reflect the growing acknowledgement of this diverse history.

The conveners welcome submissions for papers of 20 minutes in length for this multidisciplinary conference that address the following or related areas:

  • historical perspectives on the 19th-century system of indentureship
  • the abolition of indentureship in the British Empire in 1917
  • the legacies of indentureship as evidenced in the language, literature and music of the Indian indentured labour diaspora
  • creative responses to indentureship histories
  • The experiences of African, Chinese, Portuguese, Adavasi, Muslim and South Indian indentured labourers
  • India and indentureship

Please send proposals and a brief biography to: maria.kaladeen@sas.ac.uk by April 29th.

Further Details

Papers from the conference will be selected for an edited publication on research perspectives on Indian indentureship in the centenary of its abolition. All papers will undergo further review processes. The official language of the conference is English.


Prof. David Dabydeen
(University of Warwick)

Dr Maria del Pilar Kaladeen
(Centre for Postcolonial Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London)

Prof. David Lambert

(Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick)

Prof. Tina K. Ramnarine
(Royal Holloway, University of London)

Dr William Tantam
(Centre for Integrated Caribbean Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London)

Inaugural Lecture by Professor Andrew Hussey, Professor of Cultural History at the School of Advanced Study



‘The French Intifada: the long war between France and its Arabs’

Thursday 2 February 2017
At 6pm in the Beveridge Hall
Senate House
Malet Street

Professor Hussey’s book The French Intifada, published in 2014, was a cultural history of France and its former colonies in North Africa, explicitly attempting to understand present tensions and challenges in both territories. It has been overtaken by recent events in France, most notably the terrorist attacks of 2015 and 2016. In his lecture Professor Hussey will revisit the book’s original research and arguments, and ask what if anything has changed, and what this might tell us about the fast-changing political landscape in France. Attendance is free but registration is essential:

To register your interest please visit www.sas.ac.uk/events/event/6673