Professor Catherine Servan-Schreiber is a Research Fellow at the Centre for South Asia (CNRS/EHESS), Paris, and she also teaches Bhojpuri and Avadhi languages and literature at INALCO (Paris). Servan-Schreiber is a MULOSIGE Critical Friend.

Professor Catherine Servan-Schreiber, CNRS Paris

Orature, World Literature and Mobility: Exploring Northern India Popular Culture

Reading List Description:

The topic of this reading list, compiled by Catherine Servan-Schreiber, is dedicated to “Orature, Mobility, and World Literature, with a view on North India”, and as such it involves an interest for the mobility of literature as well as for the literature on mobility. In the same tradition as the Brittany “flying sheets complaint literature” or the Brazilian “cordel literature”, India has its own chapbook literature. On the basis of this literary specific media, the ambition of this study is to rehabilitate Orature in the history of Literature, to show the vitality of a popular book market, to re introduce the role of the chapbook production and creativity in the history of the book printing industry in India and to compare this field with similar literary trends of World literature.

In order to present a history of a North Indian regional literature by dealing with the printing conditions and circulation of Orature texts, Servan-Schreiver underlines certain continuities in modes of circulation between pre colonial, colonial and contemporary periods, whether they be in patterns of travel, the circulation of oral literature, the spread of merchant networks or the circulation of labour. In studying these peculiar patterns of mobility, the idea is not to restrict the study to people, but to associate the circulation of people with that of texts or objects. In that perspective, there is a narrow line between anthropology, literature and history. Therefore, the reading list will not include only essays on literature, but will go beyond, to include history, history of book printing, sociology, anthropology, and even archaeology.

This reading list developed out of a week long course given at SOAS “Orature, Literature and History: Exploring Northern Indian Popular Culture (19c-20c)” (SOAS, 29 – 31 May 2018) by Professor Catherine Servan-Schreiber (CEIAS, Paris) and Camille Buat (Sciences Po, Paris and University of Göttingen).

Download the reading list here: Orature, World Literature and Mobility: Exploring Northern India Popular Culture