FLAME University


Learning from some of the best minds in education and in the industry
Prof. Kedar Kulkarni
Associate Professor - Literary & Cultural Studies
Email: kedar.kulkarni@flame.edu.in
PhD & MA, University of California, San Diego, USA
BA (High Honors), Brandeis University, USA

Kedar A. Kulkarni is a literary historian and theorist who situates Indian literature and performance traditions within global paradigms, borrowing lenses from colonial and postcolonial studies, comparative literature, and theatre and performance studies. He has written about slavery, caste, and gender in South Asia, aspects of intellectual history and theory, book history, historical poetics, and genre. His research focuses on literature and performance in Marathi, Sanskrit, English, and occasionally Hindi.

Kedar’s first book, World Literature and the Question of Genre in Colonial India: Poetry, Drama, and Print Culture 1790-1890 (Bloomsbury 2022), won the American Comparative Literature Association’s Helen Tartar First Book Subvention Grant. In it, he argues that like English literature, whose curricular outlines were invented in the colonies, so too Indian vernacular literatures underwent a dramatic transformation over the course of the nineteenth century. The book 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. Kedar showcases an upheaval in literary culture as a new class of literati emerged: anthologists, critics, theatre-makers, publishers, and translators, among many others. Reading through archives and ephemera, the book also 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, unique literary modernity.

More recently, Kedar is at work on a new project, tentatively called Animal Aesthetics. Animal Aesthetics argues for a more nuanced textual and epistemological understanding of animals in a country such as India, where dominant academic and cultural paradigms from the (residually Christian) global north are not as pervasive. In the book, he combines environmental discourse with aesthetics and scientific texts. He juxtaposes texts as diverse as Darwin’s Descent of Man and the Ramayana, and theorists such as Jacques Lacan with Anandavardhana, among others. Though he focuses on human-animal entanglements, firmly within a paradigm of postcolonial animal studies and environmental humanities, Animal Aesthetics will also resonate with topics in hermeneutics, postcritical approaches to literature, and religious and secular discourse.



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.

Selected Articles, Essays, and Chapters:

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A., “Introduction,” for the India section of Handbook of Performance Related Concepts in Non-European Languages. Ed. Erika Fisher-Lichte. London: Routledge, 2022.

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “Contesting the Povāḍā: History, form, and caste in performance” in Generating Knowledge in Performance. Erika Fisher-Lichte, Torsten Jost, Milos Kosic, eds. London: Routledge, 2022.

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “Performing Intimacy: Slavery and the Woman’s Voice in Eighteenth Century Marathi Lavani” South Asian History and Culture. 12.2-3, 2021. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19472498.2021.1878783

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “Theatre between the Raj and the Raja” Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film 44.1 (Winter 2017) 92-116. https://doi.org/10.1177/1748372717737487

  • Kulkarni, Kedar A. “The Popular Itinerant Theatre of Maharashtra, 1843-1880” Asian Theatre Journal, 32.1 (Spring 2015) 190-227. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/atj.2015.0008

For a (more) complete list, please click here.