Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Nidān (July 2021)

Folklore from South Asia

Guest editor: Dr. Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai

Visual anthropologist, author, columnist


Journal Editor: Professor P. Pratap Kumar

School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics

University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban.


Associate Editor: Deepra Dandekar

Research Fellow, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin.


The bi-annual, peer-reviewed, and international, open access Journal Nidān: International Journal for Indian Studies, published from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban is pleased to announce its new CFP for the July 2021 special issue on Folklore from South Asia, guest edited by Dr. Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai.

In this issue we explore how folktales use powerful symbols for depicting the multiple voices of the socially marginalised, seeking to address unanswered questions about justice, equality, respect, and love. Interweaving emotions of various narrators across caste, gender, human and non-human existence, folktales from South Asia follow an oicotype, connecting with the emotionality of readers in ways that transcend and subvert the hegemonic history of religion and legality. Consumed across region, folk symbols acquire the quality of a timeless metaphoric tapestry for not just South Asians, but also their diaspora. Popular folk narratives enjoy a rich print culture in South Asia. Produced cheaply and transmitted orally, in ways that extend to songs, arts, crafts, performances and festivals, folklore intertwines itself in interesting patterns with Epic and Puranic mythology, constituting what can be considered a pastiche of symbols within postcolonial modernity. It henceforth plays the role of a consumable symbol that can be acquired and displayed outside the context of its production and genesis, to construct the identity of its consumers. The voices of the marginalised often gain pre-eminence within folklore, in the shape of plants, animals and inanimate objects in addition to the human form, often producing alternative social commentaries on women’s morality and sexual promiscuity. While scholarship has long debated whether universal justice enshrined in folklore plays a role in transforming social morality, it remains to be seen whether these decentring narratives only compensate for the reality of social violence, when reduced to the status of traditional but expensive arts. Finally, folklore represents intangible cultural heritage, and this special issue explores the unique pattern generated by social cultural and historical contingencies that focus on the migratory and adaptational tendency of oral narratives that blend synergistically with  identity construction.

The themes for contributors in this special issue include:

  • Folklore and social marginalization
  • Folklore and ecology
  • Print and Performance
  • Artisans and Markets
  • Feminism and sexual morality
  • Diaspora and Identity

We elicit original research articles up to 10,000 words (including footnotes and references) from scholars of multi-disciplinary backgrounds. Please email your abstracts (up to 500 words) to Lopamudra ( or to Deepra ( by November 30th, 2020. Please note that only those contributors whose topics fit the volume will be invited to submit a paper. Final submissions of papers for the special issue will have to be made by February 28th, 2021.