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Ph.D. – Literature | University of California - USA

Prof. Kedar Kulkarni
Ph.D. in Literature from University of California, USA; M.A. in English Literature from University of California, USA; B.A. from Brandeis University, USA

Assistant Professor – Literary & Cultural Studies

Kedar A. Kulkarni's research focuses on literary transitions between the early modern and colonial India, from orally-recited poetry to playwright-centred drama. He writes about discourses of worldliness, and the way literature and its publics imaginatively frame history and society. He has published and forthcoming work in Asian Theatre JournalNineteenth Century Theatre and FilmEconomic and Political Weekly, South Asian History and Culture, New Literary History, and other scholarly periodicals. His teaching interests encompass a wide variety of themes and topics, including colonial and postcolonial studies, south asian studies, world literature, genre studies, science fiction, and environmental writing and animals studies.

Kedar A. Kulkarni’s current project, The Genres of World Literature in Colonial India: Poetry, Drama, and Print Culture, 1790-1890, recently won the ACLA’s Helen Tartar First Book Subvention grant and is under review. The Genres of World Literature in Colonial India describes the way Marathi literary culture, entrenched in performative modes of production and reception, especially balladry and epic storytelling, saw the germination of a robust, script-centric dramatic culture, owing to colonial networks of literary exchange and the wide availability of print technology. However, the process was far from a simple mutation of genre. He demonstrates the upheaval that literary culture underwent as a new class of literati emerged: anthologists, critics, theatre makers, publishers, translators, among many others. Ultimately, The Genres of World Literature in Colonial India critiques “eurochronology”— the perceived backwardness of colonial and postcolonial locales when compared with literatures produced in Euro-American metropoles. Reading through archives and ephemera, it demonstrates that literary cultures in colonized locales converged with and participated fully in key defining moments of world literature, but also diverged from them to create, simultaneously, a unique literary modernity.

His next project is tentatively called Animal Imaginaries, a cultural-literary history of animals in South Asia.

Born in Mumbai, Kedar was raised in three countries on three continents, but considers Pune his home. Since completing his PhD from University of California, San Diego, Kedar has held postdoctoral positions at Yale University and the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Most recently, he was a visiting fellow at Interweaving Performance Cultures, housed at the Free University of Berlin.

Peer Reviewed Publications:


  • Literature in the Making: Authority, Genre, and Performance in Western India, 1790-1890, in progress, under review. Awarded the ACLA's Helen Tartar First Book Subvention Grant.

Edited Volumes:

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. and Tobias Becker, Eds. "Special Issue: Beyond the Playhouse: Travelling Theatre in the Long Nineteenth Century" Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film. 44.1, 2017.

Peer Reviewed Publications:

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. and Tobias Becker, Eds. "Beyond the Playhouse: Travelling Theatre in the Long Nineteenth Century" Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film. 44.1, 3-7, 2017.
  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. "Between the Raj and the Raja: Taking Shakuntala on Tour in Colonial India" Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film. 44.1, 92-116, 2017.
  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “The Popular Itinerant Theatre of Maharashtra, 1843-1880” Asian Theatre Journal, 32.1 (Spring 2015) 190-227.

Articles and Chapters:

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. Review Essay of Emotions in Indian Thought Systems and A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 52, No. 19, May 13, 2017, 28-33.
  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “Katha” (story telling) in Handbook on Performance Related Concepts in Non-European Languages, Ed. Erika Fischer-Lichte, Christel Weiler, Torsten Jost. (Forthcoming)

Book Reviews:

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “Gender, Culture, and Performance: Marathi Theatre and Cinema before Independence” Meera Kosambi (New Delhi: Routledge, 2014). Theatre Journal, 68.1, March 2016.
  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “Bombay before Bollywood: Film City Fantasies” Rosie Thomas (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014). South Asian Popular Culture, January 2016.
  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “Globalization, Nationalism and the Text of Kichaka-Vadha: the First English Translation of the Marathi Anticolonial Classic, with a Historical Analysis of Theatre in British India” Rakesh Solomon, trans & ed. (London: Anthem Press, 2014). Asian Theatre Journal, Vol. 32, No. 2, (Fall 2015) 698-702.
  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “The Historical and the Literary Rani” review of The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India by Harleen Singh (New Delhi: Cambridge UP, 2014). Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 50, No. 22, May 30, 2015, 29-31.
  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “The Illicit and the Excluded” review of Illicit Worlds of Indian Dance: Cultures of Exclusion by Anna Morcom (London: C. Hurst & Co, 2013). Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 49, No. 51, Dec 20, 2014, 31-32.