Australia-India Encounters: Past, Present, Future

Organised by The Centre for Australian Studies, Department of English and Culture Studies, The University of Burdwan in collaboration with the ANU Australian Studies Institute.

The history of Australia-India encounters dates back to the first half of the nineteenth century. Even before the 1840s, the presence of the Indians (mainly servants to British families who were given land grants in colonies) in Australia has been traced. Many Indians, later, went to Australia as indentured labourers to work in sugar plantations and on farms. Some of them were ‘hawkers,’ small traders who travelled through different towns of Australia. The nineteenth century also saw a gradual increase in the number of Indian travellers to Australia (such as, Fazulbhoy Vikram, N.L. Doss and T. N. Mukharji), many of whom even documented their encounters with Australian polity, society and culture by writing journals and travelogues.

Australia-India encounters started taking new forms in the 1970s as Australia adopted multicultural policies rejecting ‘The White Australia Policy.’ This resulted in a steady flow of the Indian migrants to Australia fostering new cross-cultural exchanges between the two countries. In Australia, the Government organized events like Utsav Australia or Indian Art Exhibitions (Museum Victoria), while in Kolkata Book Fair, Australia has been projected several times either as “Guest of Honour Country” or the “Focus Country” (2007).

Australian Government’s intention to establish international links has also contributed significantly to develop and re-shape its politico-economic-cultural relationships with India. India’s shift from its ‘Look East’ policy to ‘Act East’ policy has similarly strengthened India’s relationship with Australia in matters relating to international strategic planning, security, commerce and culture. In fact, India’s ‘Act East Policy’ is in tune with its growing interest in the Asia Pacific region and its ideological position of considering Australia as a part of larger Asia. In the post-pandemic era, both the countries are working towards transforming the Asia Pacific as a politically important region of independent and sovereign states.

This international conference welcomes Australian and Indian scholars from across disciplines to consider upon the past, present and the future of Australia-India encounters to identify new discursive strategies to facilitate a better understanding of each other in terms of history, politics and culture.

The conference will address, but not strictly limit itself to, the following issues:

  • Indigenous Australian Literature
  • Literature and Films
  • Climate Change and Climate Fiction
  • Indian Diasporic Literature of Australia
  • Environment and Security
  • Judicial Activism
  • Australian Studies: Research and
  • Methodology
  • Teaching Australia in India
  • Teaching India in Australia
  • Re-writing History
  • Race and Identity
  • Federalism
  • Terrorism and Conflict Resolution
  • International Relations
  • Economic Paradigms in Bilateral Relations
  • Linkages of Sports and Culture
  • Tourism and Cultural Exchange
  • Colonial/Postcolonial/ Contemporary
  • Writings
  • Literature and Socio-cultural Activism

Abstracts (not exceeding 300 words) may be emailed to

Deadline for sending abstracts: Thu 20 April 2023

Registration Fees: 2000 INR (National), 150 AUD (International).

Online presentation facility will be available only for the international participants. Though it may not be possible to arrange accommodation, the conference team may provide assistance to the national participants, if contacted beforehand.

Updated:  29 March 2023/Responsible Officer:  Institute Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications