2nd Edition

Dalit Literatures in India

ISBN 9781138593282
Published April 29, 2018 by Routledge India
376 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

USD $51.95

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Book Description

This book breaks new ground in the study of Dalit literature, including in its corpus a range of genres such as novels, autobiographies, pamphlets, poetry, short stories and graphic novels. With contributions from major scholars in the field, alongside budding ones, the book critically examines Dalit literary production and theory. It also initiates a dialogue between Dalit writing and Western literary theory.

This second edition includes a new Introduction which takes stock of developments since 2015. It discusses how Dalit writing has come to play a major role in asserting marginal identities in contemporary Indian politics while moving towards establishing a more radical voice of dissent and protest.

Lucid, accessible yet rigorous in its analysis, this book will be indispensable for scholars and researchers of Dalit studies, social exclusion studies, Indian writing, literature and literary theory, politics, sociology, social anthropology and cultural studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition: Taking stock, Updating, Moving forward

by Joshil K. Abraham and Judith Misrahi-Barak

Introduction: Dalit Literatures in India: in, out and beyond

Joshil K. Abraham and Judith Misrahi-Barak

1. Caste differently

G. N. Devy

2. Caste and democracy: three paradoxes

M.S.S. Pandian

3. The politics of Dalit literature

Ravi Shankar Kumar

4. ‘No name is yours until you speak it’: notes towards a contrapuntal reading of Dalit literatures and postcolonial theory

Laetitia Zecchini

5. Language and translation in Dalit literature

Nalini Pai

6. Negotiations with faith: conversion, identity and historical continuity

Jasbir Jain

7. Resisting together separately: representations of the Dalit–Muslim question in literature

Nida Sajid

8. Creating their own gods: literature from the margins of Bengal

Sipra Mukherjee

9. Caste and the literary imagination in the context of Odia literature: a reading of Akhila Nayak’s Bheda

Raj Kumar

10. Questions of caste, commitment and freedom in Gujarat, India: towards a reading of Praveen Gadhvi’s The City of Dust and Lust

Santhosh Dash

11. Dalit intellectual poets of Punjab: 1690–1925

Raj Kumar Hans

12. Life, history and politics: Kallen Pokkudan's two autobiographies and the Dalit print imaginations in Keralam

Ranjith Thankappan

13. Dalits writing, Dalits speaking: on the encounters between Dalit autobiographies and oral histories

Alexandra De Heering

14. A Life Less Ordinary: the female subaltern and Dalit literature in contemporary India

Martine Van Woerkens

15. Witnessing and experiencing Dalitness: in defence of Dalit women’s Testimonio

Sara Sindhu Thomas

16. Literatures of suffering and resistance: Dalit women’s Testimonios and Black women slave narratives – a comparative study

Arpita Chattaraj Mukhopadhay

17. Polluting the page: Dalit women’s bodies in autobiographical literature

Carolyn Hibbs

18. Intimacy across caste and class boundaries in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things

Maryam Mirza

19. Caste as the baggage of the past: global modernity and the cosmopolitan Dalit identity

K. Satyanarayana

20. Tense – past continuous: some critical reflections on the art of Savi Sawarkar

Santhosh Sadanandan

21. The Indian graphic novel and Dalit trauma: A Gardener in the Wasteland

Pramod K. Nayar

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Joshil K. Abraham is Assistant Professor at G. B. Pant Govt. Engineering College, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha (GGSIP) University, New Delhi, India.

Judith Misrahi-Barak is Associate Professor at Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France. She teaches in the English Department.


"This collection of essays offers the reader a varied, nuanced, and engagé reflection on Dalit literature. It brings together contextualised, precise analyses of texts without ignoring the more general historical and political framework which is constitutive of this literature. Not only is it informative, but in some cases it brings readers to reflect on their own critical assumptions." - Alexis Tadié, Sorbonne Université, Etudes Anglaises

"With this eclectic collection of critical essays, written from a range of positions and raising a variety of issues, it is clear that Dalit literature has come of age." - Susie Tharu, Department of Cultural Studies, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

"The collection includes 21 well-written scholarly essays and a very useful selective bibliography of primary and secondary sources (books, journal articles, book chapters, and dissertations) on Dalit literature. In their excellent introduction Abraham (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha Univ., India) and Misrahi-Barak (Université Paul-Valéry, France) deal with the history and progress of Dalit literature in India. The book is an excellent addition to world literature, and this reviewer looks forward to studies that examine the contributions of Dalits from all religions of India."  - R. N. Sharma, CHOICE

"This volume of essays is commendable because each essay widens out the field of inquiry in a centrifugal pattern. Each widening circle of analysis allows the reader to grasp the intersections of thought and pursue his/her own understanding of the larger questions." - Nilak Datta, IACLALS Journal, vol. 2

"One final, outstanding quality of this remarkable volume that warrants special attention is its potential as a research tool. Given the very recent nature of the discipline, the precise and thorough bibliographies that conclude each chapter provide precious references for researchers interested in these questions." - Lissa Lincoln, The American University of Paris, Postcolonial Studies Association