ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

48 – Minority languages and their literary/performative expressions in South India

This panel intends to bring to the fore and discuss literary and performative practices in South Indian languages that are classified as ‘non-scheduled’ (i.e., not listed as official, ‘scheduled,’ languages in the Indian Constitution), such as Kodava, Tulu, Byari, Gondi, Toda, etc.

Convenor

Pauline Schuster-Loehlau - Chair of Indology/South Asian Studies, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany

Long Abstract

This panel intends to bring to the fore and discuss literary and performative practices in South Indian languages that are classified as ‘non-scheduled’ (i.e., not listed as official, ‘scheduled,’ languages in the Indian Constitution), such as Kodava, Tulu, Byari, Gondi, Toda, etc. As these languages are at a disadvantage compared to ‘scheduled’ ones in terms of governmental assistance and promotion, their cultural practices, including oral traditions, have been relegated to the private realm. Nevertheless, they possess a rich repertoire of oral songs, rites and practices that negotiate with, and challenge the dominant culture. Also, in recent decades, marginalized, predominantly oral, communities have entered the realm of print, and engaged in historiographical practices.

We focus on the expressive traditions of marginalized languages, both oral and written, and invite papers that address the following and related questions:

  1. What kinds of resistive voices are encoded in the expressions of minoritized and marginalized communities?
  2. How have these communities negotiated with the dominant ‘official’ languages, and how has this negotiation been expressed in their literary articulations?
  3. What figurations and re-figurations can be observed in the articulations of these communities that respond to the changing social, economic and political contexts?
  4. What is the impact of the textualization process on these languages and their socio-political standing?
  5. With processes of ‘history writing’ having gained significance for most communitarian assertions, how have these language communities responded to and engaged with newer, creative ways of fashioning historiographies?