Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Laura Brueck Wins Awards and Becomes a Visiting Assistant Professor

Tue, April 25, 2006

In her own words, Laura describes her research:
The research for my dissertation, “Rethinking Resistance in Hindi Dalit Literature: Towards an Aesthetics of Protest,” is focused on contemporary Dalit (formerly “Untouchable”) literature from a broad range of Hindi-language media sources. During the period of my field research I collected an enormous amount of Dalit literature printed in local and regional magazines, journals, and newsletters, as well as published books and unpublished manuscripts. I interviewed numerous Dalit authors, activists, and literary critics, and worked one-on-one over the course of months with several writers whose poetry and short fiction I have undertaken to translate from Hindi into English. Based in Delhi, I also worked very closely with several different literary-activist Dalit organizations such as the Dalit Lekhak Sangh (Dalit Writer’s Forum) and Bharatiya Dalit Sahitya Akademi (Indian Dalit Literary Academy), attending, and often participating in, literary conferences, readings, awards ceremonies, and planning meetings. Through my participation in these groups I was able to explore the ways in which Dalit writers, critics, and activists actively imagine and construct a modern, progressive Dalit public identity in both the creation and dissemination of works of literature as well as the establishment of attendant literary institutions. The goal of my dissertation is to demonstrate the ways in which Dalit literature has now matured beyond the initial outcry of an oppressed people finding their voice to a richly textured tapestry of short and long fiction, poetry, theater, autobiography, and literary criticism that continually challenges “traditional” Indian aesthetic codes and is consequently contributing to the development of a new, thoroughly modern literary idiom.

In the fall, Laura will begin her new position as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature at Hamilton College. She plans to teach a course on modern India in literature and film, a course on Dalits and caste issues, and a "living epics" course. She will continue to perform research, publish, and present at conferences while she teaches and prepares to defend her dissertation this fall.

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