Panel: Texts and Canons: New Literature in Colonial South Asia, BASAS, 11-13 April 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Pritipuspa Mishra/ Texas A&M Univeristy & University of Southampton
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BASAS 25 Conference, University of Southampton, 11-13 April 2011
Bodies of Power, Forms of Power: South Asia through History and Across

Panel: Texts and Canons: New Literature in Colonial South Asia

"To one degree or another, literary relations of power are forms of political relations of power"
- Pascale Casanova, The World Republic of Letters
This panel treats the politics of new literary production in South Asia in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Taking recent scholarly interest in the concept of 'world literatures' as a point of departure, we seek to explore the political implications of the increasingly global nature of literary criticism on the production of literature in the nineteenth and twentieth century South Asia. The emergence of a new publishing industry and the widening of patronage and market for new literature coupled with pressures of an emerging vernacular education system led to many South Asian languages experiencing a spurt in literary production. How did this new literary production in South Asian languages engage with their own literary traditions and texts from the pre-colonial era? What did 'modern literature' mean to writers and editors who were increasing pulled into a more global literary arena? Read within the context of cultural nationalism in this period, literary production and debates about modernity and tradition could serve as a site for analyzing the circulation of cultural power and contestation between the local intelligentsia and colonial critics of South Asian tradition.
We invite papers that explore shifts, debates and innovations in literary cultures of various South Asian languages. Theoretical as well as empirical treatments of particular texts or broad literary trends are welcome. We are particularly interested in papers presenting work from the less studied countries in South Asia. Possible paper topics include but are not limited to:
South Asian definitions of the 'literary'
History of the novel in South Asian Languages
Translation and the anxieties about originality in literary production
Emergence of new literary genres in South Asia
The rise of the essay in South Asian languages.

If you would like to participate in this session, please send a 200 word
abstract of your proposed paper to Pritipuspa Mishra ( or ) by 31 January 2011.

Dr. Pritipuspa Mishra
Assistant Professor
Department of History
Texas A&M University

Research Fellow (2010-11)
Department of History
University of Southampton