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The Australian National University

Shvetal Vyas Pare

PhD candidate

Thesis topic

Becoming India: Contingent Regional and National Identities


Meera Ashar (Panel chair), Brij Lal

My research

To say that a nation is constructed is to state the obvious. What are the implications of this contingency? In my thesis, I attempt to highlight the contingency of the national by placing it alongside the regional, with Gujarat being the region so chosen. This is done to neither posit an essentialized Gujarati identity nor define it through certain characteristics (mercantile etc.) but to contrast it with the idea of Indian identity. 'Indian' identity, unlike Gujarati identity, is not imbricated with any one language, and its emergence is traced differently by different historians, though usually the overarching framework is the rise of nationalist feeling under the British rule. Exploring these two allegiances, both in tension with and complementing each other, is an attempt to write an ontological history of India.

About the student

Shvetal Vyas Pare is the recipient of the IPRS and APA scholarships for her PhD at the School of Culture, History and Language at the College of Asia and the Pacific. She did her masters and M.Phil at the University of Delhi. Her research interests include vernacular languages and literatures of India, conceptions of regional and national identities and critical discourse analysis. She enjoys critically engaging with Indian cinema, Indian popular culture and Indian popular literature.


  • Vyas Pare, Shvetal 2014,Writing Fiction, Living History: KanhaiyalalMunshi's Historical Trilogy', Modern Asian Studies 48 (3), pp. 596 - 616. First published online 4 June 2013.'
  • Gilbert Caluya, Elspeth Probyn and Shvetal Vyas 2011, 'Affective eduscapes': the case of Indian students within Australian international higher education, Cambridge Journal of Education, 41 (1), pp. 85-99.

Conference presentations

  • 'Telling Tales of Globalisation: Gujarati and British narratives' at the Gujarat Studies Association 4th Biennial Conference: The Gujarati Community: Globalisation, Mobility and Belonging, 15 - 16 February 2012, Dubai, UAE.
  • 'Taking the post-Western seriously' at MnM - CSAA Annual Conference, Cultural
  • ReOrientations and Comparative Colonialities, 22-24 November 2011, Adelaide, Australia.
  • 'Traditional yet Modern: Marital Eroticism in Indian Soaps', at Console-ing Passions: An International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media and Feminism, co-hosted by the University of South Australia, Flinders University and The University of Adelaide, 21-23 July 2011, Adelaide, Australia.


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