Call for Proposals: 2023 Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia

Identity and Cultural Dissonance 

March 31 and April 1, 2023

University at Buffalo, SUNY

The University at Buffalo, SUNY, is proud to hold its fifth annual Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia. We invite papers on the theme of “Identity and Cultural Dissonance,” which may be interpreted broadly in its social or political sense. The quintessential struggle with identity that the South Asian diaspora experience correlates to the importance of seeking out and understanding one’s origins. The 2023 Rustgi conference will feature a keynote lecture from New York City Council Member of District 39 Shahana Hanif, representing the divisions of Kensington, Borough Park, Windsor Terrace, and more. Her work in the community extends beyond her career as a Council Member: she has contributed to Participatory Budgeting and served as a tenants’ rights organizer and advocate for gender justice. 

Reused temple pillar, Qutbuddin Mubarak Khilji's Jama` masjid (since 1948, a Bharat Mata Mandir), 1318, Daulatabad fort
Reused temple pillar, Jamaʿ Masjid/Bharat Mata Mandir, Daulatabad fort (credit: Walter Hakala)

We welcome undergraduate participants studying South Asia from all disciplines to submit proposals, preferably but not necessarily working on any topic relating to the theme. Possible topics of discussion include: 

  • Identities in the diaspora
  • Identity in religion
  • Gender and identity
  • Fashion in identity
  • Identity and public health
  • Identity and politics
  • Online and offline identities
  • Names and identity
  • Burdens of representation 
  • Appropriation
  • Intersectionality 

This list of suggestions is by no means exhaustive. We encourage papers that explore sociopolitical issues, communities, or theories stemming from under-represented perspectives. We shall organize panels around presentations addressing similar issues that draw from various disciplinary perspectives, including the social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, management, humanities, fine arts, and others. 

Please visit to submit proposals.


The conference will be held on Friday, March 31st and Saturday, April 1st 2023. Student presenters should plan for 15-minute presentations. Each panel will include 30 minutes for discussion. Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may require the conference organizers to shift the conference online, we have every hope of holding the event in person.  


Proposals, including 250-word abstracts and the contact information of a faculty supervisor, must be submitted via the online submissions portal ( by Sunday, January 8, 2023.

When submitting abstracts, applicants must affirm that they will be enrolled as undergraduate students at the time of the conference. Those in graduate programs or not currently enrolled in an undergraduate program will not be permitted to present. The organizers reserve the right to confirm student status with their advisor and home institution.

Funding and Accommodations

We are able to provide a limited number of presenters with a travel subvention of up to US$300. Accepted participants who attend in person will also be provided with individual hotel accommodations. The University at Buffalo cannot provide any additional assistance or guidance to international applicants seeking entry into the United States. 


Please contact for more information about the conference.

To view past conference programs, please visit 

The fourth annual Rustgi South Asian Undergraduate Research Conference is made possible by a generous gift from the families of Dr. Vinod Rustgi and Dr. Anil Rustgi as well as funding from the University at Buffalo Office of International Education