New Mandala readers with interests that stretch to northeast India will be keen to know that an international conference to be held in Guwahati, Assam, is calling for papers. The conference is scheduled for 16-18 January 2008.

According to the organisers:

This interdisciplinary conference will provide a forum for scholars and policy makers, as well as visual artists and others involved in the material and visual representation of this region. All scholars who are currently, or have previously been actively involved in research in this region are invited to participate, irrespective of nationality. However, it is hoped that scholars from countries such as India, China, Bangladesh, Burma and Thailand will make a significant contribution.

We solicit papers focusing on any of the following topics, but will consider papers that address other issues:

1) Asian Perspectives on Northeast India.

2) Assessing recent India-Southeast Asia interactions: comparing India’s Look-East Policy and Chinese dealings with transnational space.

3) Beyond tribes and plainsmen: the historical dynamics of hills-plains interactions in the South, East, Central and Southeast Asian borderlands.

4) Social and religious transformations in Northeast India and its transnational neighbourhood.

5) Developmental challenges for Northeast India from transnational perspectives.

6) Networks, routes and resources across borders.

More information on the conference is available from this detailed website. To my eye, it looks like a a very worthwhile scholarly initiative. I have been told that the organisers are particularly keen for researchers from Burma, Thailand elsewhere in Southeast Asia to make the trip to India’s northeast. They hope to draw from the reservoirs of scholarly knowledge and experience that exist throughout northeast India’s transnational neighbourhood.

Any New Mandala readers looking for more information, or just wanting to discuss a paper idea, can write to Oxford University’s Dr Mandy Sadan who is helping organise the conference.