Christian Lee Novetzke cln at SAS.UPENN.EDU
Tue Mar 25 18:52:29 UTC 2003

Hello Friends,

I am assembling a panel for Madison and wanted to canvas for interest from
you all.  If you are interested in the proposal abstract below, please
respond to me directly at cln at

Thank you.

The Printed Word: Orality and Performance in the Genealogy of Print in India

This panel will explore the particular condition of handwritten and printed
works in India in the vernaculars, and also in English, as reflective of an
oral and performance epistemological core. Papers presented will engage the
idea that at the heart of much printed work in India from the nineteenth to
the twentieth centuries, orality and performance have given shape to the
printed word. Rather than develop the kinds of literary work that many
scholars consider the epitome of modern printing--such as the novel--the
greatest efflorescence of printed materials in India has taken the shape of
genealogical successors of oral/performance legacies, such as the myriad
"folk" genres of performance, Parsi and other kinds of theatre, courtly and
country lyrical forms, heroic ballads, oral epics, and so on. In asserting
this oral essence to printed expressive forms, the panel will explicitly
engage modernist conceits regarding what sorts of cultural forms are
plausible in societies with a strong oral/performative ethos, thus invoking
debates about the possibilities of historiographical thinking and the
contours of modern public culture still faithful to "pre-modern" cultural
forms of communication.

Christian Lee Novetzke
Assistant Professor of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania, 820 Williams Hall
36th and Spruce Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305, USA

Email: cln at      Website:
Tel: (215) 898-7475                  Fax: (215) 573-2138

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