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"Indian Dalit Literature: The Local, the Global, and the Politics of Translation"


W.E.S. Room
lower level of Worner Campus Center, 902 N. Cascade Ave.



Indian Dalit literature, which can be traced back to a corpus of writings from Maharashtra in the 1960s, refers to literature of the oppressed, usually associated with a diverse group of people historically considered the lowest among the Indian population and known as "untouchables."  While Dalit literature developed in response to concerns specific to Indian social and cultural history, over the last 20 years Dalit literature has got itself a spot in the World Republic of Letters through translations into English. This talk will introduce the history and the development of Dalit literature as both a regional and global literary phenomenon, looking specifically at the politics played by English language publishers and the global market in its dissemination. The talk will also address confluences between the development of Dalit literature and that of Afro-American literature and the literature from Francophone African culture areas, written in French and Creole.

Lecturer Kannan M. is researcher and head of the Project on Contemporary Tamil at the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP), India. He is the author and editor of various books, articles, essays, and poems, both individually and in collaboration. He has organized conferences and workshops involving contemporary Tamil literature and its place in the contemporary social milieu, and its links with classical Tamil literature. He has published translations of literary works from Tamil into both English and French, and from English into Tamil. He has guided the research of many doctoral students from India and abroad, and established a large collection of books, journals, articles, and manuscripts in the IFP library's contemporary Tamil section, working toward building a Centre for Contemporary Tamil at the IFP.



  • Open to Public: Yes
  • Admission Fee: Free
  • Sponsored By: The Asian Studies Program & Comparative Literature
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