3rd Series “Thinking from the Global South Distinguished Lecture by Francesca Orsini


Despite evidence of widespread and persistent multilingual literary tastes, aesthetics, and practices, literary archives in South Asia have been largely monolingual or selectively bilingual, and have erased all but traces of their subjects’ more diffuse multilingualism. This is true of pre-colonial archives, even before new ideas of language, community, and indigeneity under colonialism turned whole languages and traditions into aliens. Rather, in South Asia as elsewhere, attention to the multiple layers of informal as well as formal literary education, and to textual and contextual clues in the archives, help us reconstruct a richer and more connected picture of multilingual literary culture.

Date: 02 April 2019
Time: 17H00 – 19H00
Venue: Humanities Graduate Centre Seminar Room


Archives typically do not mention contiguous literary subjects working in different traditions and languages, promoting a view of separate life-worlds despite noticing “curious” similarities. A spatial approach that actively looks for the “multiplicity of stories and trajectories” (Massey) and is attentive to the dialogism of utterances (Bakhtin), by contrast, can go a long way into explaining the utterances themselves and who they are in silent dialogue with. This lecture will present two case studies from North India: the “silent dialogue” between Sufis and Sants (devotional poet saints), and an anthology of modern writing on the city of Allahabad.

Date: 04 April 2019
Time: 17H00 – 19H00
Venue: Humanities Graduate Centre Seminar Room.

RSVP: kagiso.makoe@wits.ac.za