Comparative Literature Studies – Special Issue on South Asia, 2015

Beyond the Anglophone: Comparative South Asian Literary Studies

With the advent of postcolonial studies in North America in the 1980s, there has been
significant scholarly output on South Asian literatures. However, literary criticism and
commentary have generally focused on Anglophone writing from South Asia and in the
diaspora. At the same time, some two-dozen literary traditions in the Indian subcontinent
continue to display remarkable energy, innovation, and historical consciousness. Factors
such as the hegemony of English language and Anglophone literary studies at home, the
global potential of South Asian writing in English, and the paucity of good translations,
have all contributed to the serious neglect of regional language literatures and have
effectively marginalized scholarship on non-Anglophone literatures published in South
Asian languages. Only a handful of regional language writers get any critical attention in
the West and such scholarship is almost entirely out of touch with work of critics and
book reviewers in South Asian languages.

This special issue of Comparative Literary Studies expects to open up critical and
theoretical exchanges across regional, linguistic, and national boundaries. The editors
welcome cutting-edge proposals on reading South Asian literatures since 1850—in
relation to one another along multiple arcs and trajectories, including literary genres and
modes of writing, movements, influences, as well as considerations of gender, caste,
class, religious divides, and minority consciousness.

Contributors are especially encouraged to consider neglected literary canons/traditions;
“minority” literatures; Muslim Literary Cultures; “postcolonialism” in non-Anglophone
writings; religion and literature; the interplay between English language and indigenous
literary traditions; South Asian languages and diasporic cultures; translation theories and

Suggested topics include:
• Literary traditions, modes, and movements in South Asian languages, preferably
in comparative frameworks.
• Non-Anglophone South Asian literary traditions in the diaspora
• Evaluations of Pan-Indian Literary Histories such as the work of Sisir Kumar
Das or the reference volumes produced by Sahitya Akademi, Kerala Sahitya
Akademi, etc.
• Dalit and/or Adivasi literatures within and across specific language traditions.
• The Influence of Sanskrit/Persian/ Arabic Literature on Modern South Asian
• The Politics of Literary Translation: within South Asian languages and
from/into English.
• Bilingual and Multilingual Writers
• Patriarchy, Women’s Bodies, Sexual Violence and Globalized Economy in
South Asian literatures
• Trauma, Politics, and National Memory
• Globalization, Consumerism, Commodification: Textual Representations and/or
Effects on Literary Production and Language Policy
• Global South Asia – Literary Responses at Home and Abroad.
• Nationalism, Democracy, and South Asian literatures.
• Progressive Writers Movement – across Language and Region.
• “Modernist” and “Postmodernist” Experiments in Form and Language in South
Asian Literatures.
• Literature and Visual Arts
• Children’s Literature in South Asian Languages
• Comparative Literary Cultures of Muslim South Asia: India and Pakistan;
Bangladesh and India; etc.
• Narratives of Islamic Minoritarianism/Exceptionalism: Sri Lanka, India, Nepal.
• How does a minority, small or large, shape a literary culture?
• Theoretical and historical frameworks for comparative South Asian literary
• Re-Evaluations of Major Figures: Faiz Ahmed Faiz; Prem Chand, Intizar
Hussain, etc.
• Minor/Neglected Language Traditions: Tulu, Dogri, Bhojpuri, Konkani, etc.
• The Death of South Asian Languages: Causes and Consequences.

We expect to publish six to eight critical essays of 5000-8000 words . Our focus is
primarily on Comparative South Asian Literatures other than English, with comparative
glances at South Asian writing in English.

Also invited are shorter pieces (up to 2000 words) on the topic: “In what ways, if any,
can South Asian literatures today be regarded as ‘postcolonial’? How do we value writing
that does not qualify as postcolonial? ” We would prefer focus on one specific South
Asian language tradition in each short piece.

Guest editors Amritjit Singh (Ohio University) and Nalini Iyer (Seattle University) invite
500-1000 word proposals along with a two-page CV by October 31, 2014. Completed
papers will be due February15, 2015. Please send inquiries and proposals to both Iyer
( and Singh ( Author guidelines available at:
( Authors encouraged to submit full
manuscripts will do so through the journal’s editorial manager