An Dalit-led international colloquium on Caste, Religion and Culture will be held in Cochin, Karala, India, from 1-4 May 2011, it has been announced.
The event will be held at the Renewal Centre in Cochin and is being sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the National Council of Churches in India, the Centre for Social Studies and Culture and the Student Christian Movement of India.
The organisers said the colloquium will provide "a Dalit critique of the contemporary cultural practices, caste and religion that will illuminate the debates in the main stream social sciences" while offering encouragement to those groups "countering the forces of casteism in India".
An opening address will be made by Bishop Dr Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, chairperson of the Student Christian Movement of India and moderator of the WCC's Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.
The keynote address on the first day will be delivered by Professor Gopal Guru of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
“Identities and locations of people are often ignored, deliberately in most cases, in both academic elaborations as well as humanistic responses,” says the Rev Dr Deenabandhu Manchala, WCC programme executive for Just and Inclusive Communities.
He adds: “This colloquium will attempt to address the dynamics of the combined factors caste, religion and culture in keeping the Dalits and other victims of the caste system where they are – even after decades of affirmative action.”
During the four-day event nearly 24 presentations will be made by church leaders, scholars, academics, activists and writers.
The subject matters to be covered include combating caste, the meaning of being marginalised in a globalised world, the plight of Dalits within the church in India today, the interplay of caste and gender, identities in the context of human rights and caste, aesthetics and media representations.
The organisers plan to release a publication featuring the various presentations from the event.
* Brochure of the colloquium (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF file): http://www2.wcc-coe.org/uploads.nsf/index/caste_colloquium/%24FILE/caste... 
* WCC work in solidarity with Dalits: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/programmes/unity-mission-evangelism-and-spir...