South Asia Seminar Series: Nisha Kommattam on "The 'High,' the 'Low' and the 'Trashy': Specters of the Popular in Malayalam Literature"

Nisha Kommattam, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Chicago & Researcher, University of Cologne, will speak on
"The 'High,' the 'Low' and the 'Trashy': Specters of the Popular in Malayalam Literature" as part of the Fall South Asia Seminar Series

The South Indian state of Kerala has long enjoyed a reputation for its high literacy, productive publishing scene and sophisticated literary tastes. However, the processes of canonization behind such developments are complex, selective and politically fraught. What constitutes “popular” versus “high” literature in Kerala? How do the activities of Malayali authors and readers reflect and/or shape the current zeitgeist? What is the politics behind changing registers and topoi? Or, to what extent does Malayalam literature accommodate varying regimes of taste? This paper will explore key moments as well as undercurrents in the history of “popular literature” in Malayalam from roughly the 1930s to today. This historical perspective will demonstrate that what some dismiss as “popular literature” has often been the most daring venue for social critique and avant-garde experimentation.

The seminar series theme is "PUBLIC | POPULAR | PULP: form and genre in South Asian cultural production," convened by Mary Rader, UT Libraries' South Asia Librarian. A light reception will precede the event at 3pm.

This talk is FREE! and open to the public.

Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Will C. Hogg Building (WCH), 4.118
120 INNER CAMPUS DR, Austin, Texas 78712

Event Type

Academics, World & Culture


College of Liberal Arts

Target Audience

Students, Faculty, Alumni, General Public


Google Calendar iCal Outlook

Recent Activity