Conference on Pashto folklore to take place in UoP

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Department of Sociology, University of Peshawar, with the financial support of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) will hold its 1st International Conference on Pashto folklore / oral literature at Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan Museum of Ethnology, University of Peshawar. The one-day event will open on Monday, March 19, 2018. The theme for the Conference is ‘Oral Literature in Pakistan: Past, Present and Future” in which scholars from across Pakistan and outside the country will present scholarly research on various aspects of folk literature including proverbs, folksongs (Tappas), folktales, and other genres of folklore.

According to Dr. Noor Sanauddin, who is the organizer of the conference and works as Assistant professor in Sociology Department, the main aim of the conference is to highlight the role of folk literature in the socio-political life of people. “The Pashtun culture is rich with unique genres of folklore which need to be explored, documented and analyzed”. He further elaborated that oral literature represent the collective wisdom of the people, the study of which provides a window to the worldview of a group. It is high time to collect and preserve oral literature which is quickly dying out as a result of modern means of communication and entertainment.

Some of the sub-themes of the conference include, “Theories and Methods in Oral Literature”, “Ethnic Identity in Folklore”, “Festivals and Rites of Passage”, “Ideology, Power, and Subversion through Folklore”, “Gender Issues and Spaces in Folk Literature”, Representation of Self and the Other in Oral Literature”, “Children’s Folklore and Socialization”, “Oral Literature and Social Media”, and “Documentation, Preservation, and Promotion of Oral Literature”.

The keynote speaker for the conference is Prof. Dr. Syed Minhaj ul Hassan, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Peshawar. Prof. Dr Liza Schuster from the University of London will presented a paper on the representation of migrant and migrants in Pashto folksongs. Nasir Jamal Khattak, Professor of English and Applied Linguistic and former Vice Chancellor of Kohat University of Science and Technology, will present a paper on the changing content of Pashto Tappa, the popular folk songs, which has shifted its image and metaphor from love to war. In the recent times, the traditional romantic language and images of Tappa have given way to a more morbid, grotesque, and gory metaphors. Pashto Tappa documents the “mess” these wars have brought upon Pashtuns.  Prof. Anoosh Khan of the Gender Studies department will present her paper on the changing narrative of “Bibi Shireenay” – the classic Pashto song representing the lives and struggle of Pashtun women – to show how Pashtun women have been struggling to assert their consciousness and identity through songs.

Other prominent speakers in the conference include Prof. Khalid Khan Khattak, Dr. Ahmad Ali Ajiz, Dr. Sher Zaman Seemab, Dr. Noor ul Basar Aman, Dr. Muhammad Ali Dinakhel, Mr. Aftab Malagori and Mr. Zaryab Yousafzai.  About one hundred delegates are expected to participate in the conference.