Apr 24 2023


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


Department of Comparative Literature

Department of Comparative Literature

Genre, History, and Transfer

Kedar A. Kulkarni, Associate Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies, FLAME University, Pune, India


Rashna Darius Nicholson, Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies, School of English, HKU


Alvin K. Wong, Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, HKU

Date: Monday, April 24, 2023
Time: 1:00 pm Hong Kong Time (10:30 am India)
Venue: On Zoom

All are welcome. Registration is required.

The story of how English literature became central for the civilizing mission is well-known. But vernacular literary cultures? How were they transformed in their colonial settings? In my talk, based on my book, “World Literature and the Question of Genre: Poetry, Drama, and Print Culture in Colonial India, 1790-1890” (Bloomsbury 2022), I argue that the concept of “literature” itself underwent a fundamental transformation during the nineteenth century. The outlines of this transformation take us through an intellectual history, book history, through biography and linguistics. They speak to the way colonialism’s transfer of ideas sparked a substantial revolution in literary culture in Marathi as well. Literati such as Vishnushastri Chiplunkar (1850-1882) were nodes enabling the emergence of anthologists, critics, publishers, theatre makers, and translators who refashioned the literary world along global paradigms, some of whose after-effects linger to our present day.

Kedar A. Kulkarni is a literary and performance historian who situates Indian literature and performance within global paradigms, borrowing lenses from colonial and postcolonial studies, comparative literature, and theatre and performance studies. He has written about slavery, gender, and caste, in South Asia, aspects of intellectual history and theory, book history, canonicity, and Marathi theatre and performance. He is an Associate Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at FLAME University, in Pune, India. His first book, “World Literature and the Question of Genre in Colonial India: Poetry, Drama, and Print Culture 1790-1890,” won the American Comparative Literature Association’s Helen Tartar First Book Subvention Grant, and was published in 2022.

Enquiries: Georgina Challen –


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