A Talk By Francesca Orsini: The Multilingual Local in World Literature

4:00 pm on Thursday, March 6, 2014
5:30 pm on Thursday, March 6, 2014
STH, Room 636, 745 Commonwealth Avenue
Francesca Orsini, Professor of Hindi and South Asian Literature | School of Oriental and African Studies – University of London and Radcliffe Institute | Harvard University Current theorizations of world literature draw on either understandings of world literature as circulation beyond the area or language of origin, or on systemic models of the inter-relationships between national literary fields or between global centers and peripheries. The focus on global circulation, the unproblematic use of geographical categories borrowed from the social sciences, and the implicit panoptic gaze commanding the whole world from an unspecified perspective, end up producing a neat but impoverished picture of the world. Following geographer Doreen Massey, this talk argues that to critique the linearity, singularity, and inevitability of the stories of modernity and of contemporary globalization entails reframing the sense of space inherent in them. It proposes a ‘bottom-up’ approach that takes the multilingual local (in this specific case, early modern North India) as a productive standpoint from which to consider both local and cosmopolitan dynamics of literary production and circulation. || Francesca Orsini took her undergraduate degree in Hindi at the University of Venice, followed by a long spell in Delhi. She taught at the University of Cambridge for several years and joined SOAS in 2006, where she teaches courses on Hindi language, literature, the literary history of South Asia, and contemporary politics of culture. Her research interests span modern and contemporary Hindi literature; popular literature in Hindi and Urdu such as detective novels, romantic fiction, and barahmasas; women writers and women's journals; book history and nineteenth-century commercial publishing in Hindi and Urdu; and the multiligual history of literature in early modern North India. || Co-sponsored by BUCSA, Depts. of MLCL and English, BU Humanities Center