Welcome to AMESALL

Assistant Professor, South Asian LiteraturesPreetha Mani Headshot Square cbf62

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Office:  15 Seminary Place Room 6168, College Avenue Campus

Office Hours: by appointment

Office Phone: 848-445-4703


Ph.D. South and Southeast Asian Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality, University of California, Berkeley 

M.A. South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley  

B.A. English and Philosophy, Tufts University  


Areas of Research and Interest:

Modern Hindi, Tamil and Indian literature; South Asian feminisms, women’s writing, world literature, translation studies, realisms and modernisms, and postcolonial studies 

My current book project examines Hindi and Tamil short story writing between the 1930s and 1960s to explore how representations of the Indian woman were used to shape ideas of regional and national identity, and experiences of belonging, in the aftermath of Indian Independence. Titled The Idea of Indian Literature: Gender, Genre, and Comparative Method, the book proposes a view of Indian literature as a field of comparative literature that is comprised of mutually imbricated local, regional, national, and global processes of literary canonization. It shows the short story to be a major genre of postcolonial literature and central to the formation of the new woman. A second project examines the relationship of women’s writing to the formation of modernist thought in Hindi and Tamil literature. This new research considers the role that women writers’ representations of feminine desire played in shaping modernist notions of writerly authenticity and literary merit. I have an enduring interest in the relationship between gender and genre and the popular and the literary, which informs my ongoing work on the comparative study of Indian and world literatures, translation studies, and women’s writing in South Asia. 


Selected Publications:

Forthcoming. “An Aesthetics of Isolation: How Pudumaippittan Gave Preeminence to the Tamil Short Story.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

Forthcoming. “The Secret of Literature,” introduction to and translation of Pudumaippittan’s “Ilakkiyattiṉ Irakaciyam.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.

2019. “What Was So New about the New Story? Modernist Realism in the Hindi Nayī Kahānī.” Comparative Literature 71(3): 226-251.

2019. “Literary and Popular Fiction in Late Colonial Tamil Nadu,” in Indian Genre Fiction: Pasts and Future Histories, edited by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Anwesha Maity, and Aakriti Mandhwani. London: Routledge, 17-37.\

2019. (with Aparna and Vinay Dharwadkar) “The Playwright and the Stage,” translation of Mohan Rakesh’s “Natakkar aur Rangmanch” in A Poetics of Modernity: Indian Theatre Theory, 1860 to the Present. Ed. Aparna Dharwadker. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 234-239.

2016. “Feminine Desire is Human Desire: Women Writing Feminism in Post-Independence India.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 36 (1): 21-41. 

  1. “Don’t you know Sita?,” introduction to and translation of R. Chudamani’s “Citaiyait Teriyuma?” SAGAR: A South Asia Research Journal 23: 111-127.
  1. “In Premchand’s Home,” introduction to and translation of selections from Shivrani Devi’s Premchand Ghar Mein in Nationalism in the Vernacular: Hindi, Urdu, and the Literature of Indian Freedom. Ed. Shobna Nijhawan. Delhi: Permanent Black. 
  1. “Conjugal Self, Conjugal Citizen: Hindi and Tamil Short Story Writing and the Either/Or of Postcolonial Indian Citizenship,” University of California-Los Angeles: Center for the Study of Women. http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5g23w8z1.


AMESALL Courses:


Introduction to the Literatures of South Asia 

Women Writers of South Asia 

Introduction to Translation Studies 

Gender, Nation, and Literature in South Asia 

Love in South Asia 

Crossroads: Classical Literatures of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia 

Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures and Theories 

Senior Seminar in Literature and Society 


Introduction to Literary Theory 


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"Collecting and Recollecting" (detail) by Adérónké Adésolá Adésànyà