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Laura Brueck

Chair; Associate Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2006

Laura Brueck (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2006) specializes in modern and contemporary Hindi literature, with a particular focus on literatures of resistance, popular literatures, and translation studies.

Her work for the last decade has focused on Hindi Dalit literature, or resistance writing by those formerly known as “untouchables.” Her book, Writing Resistance: The Rhetorical Imagination of HIndi Dalit Literature (Columbia University Press, 2014) analyzes the vernacular discursive sphere of contemporary Hindi Dalit literature. Writing Resistance also offers close readings of modern and contemporary Dalit short stories to argue that “Dalit consciousness” in short stories is established through narrative strategies such as melodramatic realism, dialect in dialogue as a marker of political consciousness, and Dalit feminist imaginaries. A collection of her translations of Hindi short stories, titled Unclaimed Terrain: Stories by Ajay Navaria, was published by Navayana Press in Delhi, India, and was named a “Best Book of 2013” by Pankaj Mishra in The Guardian. Her new book project considers Indian “pulp” fiction, particularly the genre of detective fiction and crime narratives. She is especially interested in the ways that the socio-political discourse of crime and criminality are reflected in twentieth century Hindi, Urdu, and English detective novels.

Brueck’s areas of specialization in teaching include South Asian literature in Hindi/Urdu, English, and in translation, Bollywood cinema, Indian epic literature, the theory and practice of translation, and South Asian civilization, with a particular focus on the modern politics of caste, class, and gender.  She is a core faculty member in the Comparative Literary Studies Program and the co-director of the Race, Caste, and Colorism Project.


book cover writing resistence Writing Resistance: The Rhetorical Imagination of Hindi Dalit Literature (Columbia University Press, 2014)




book cover unclaimed terrain Unclaimed Terrain: Stories by Ajay Navaria (Navayana, 2013)



Edited Volumes

cover of literary sentiments Literary Sentiments in the Vernacular
 Gender and Genre in Modern South Asia (1st edition 2022)



Tejubehan, “Women and Bicycles,”    Words Without Borders (Oct 2018 issue)



book cover indian sound cultures Indian Sound Cultures, Indian Sound Citizenship (University of Michigan Press, 2020 and Primus Books, 2022)



“South Asian Crime Fiction” in The Cambridge Companion to World Crime Fiction (eds. Jesper Guldall, Stewart King, and Alistair Rolls). Co-authored with Francesca Orsini. (forthcoming 2022).

“The Democratic Aspirations of Dalit Literature” in State of  Democracy in India: Essays on Life and Politics in Contemporary Times ed. Manas Ray (Delhi: Primus 2022).  

“Mother Tongues: The Disruptive Possibilities of Feminist Vernaculars” in Literary Sentiments in the Vernacular: Gender and Genre in Modern South Asia, Eds. Gupta, Brueck, Harder, Nijhawan (London: Routledge 2022).

Bhais behaving badly: Vernacular masculinities in Hindi detective novels”, South Asian Popular Culture, 18:1 (2020) pp. 29-46.

“Bending Biography: The Creative Intrusions of ‘Real Lives’ in Dalit Fiction,” Biography 40:1 (2017) pp. 77-92.

“Narrating Dalit Womanhood and the Aesthetics of Autobiography,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature (2017).

“Dalit Literary Discourse and the Problem of Premchand” in Dalit Studies: Unfreedom and Modernity in India, eds. Gopal Guru, Devesh Kapur, K. Satyanarayana, and Ramnarayan Rawat (Duke University Press 2016) pp. 180-201.

“At the Intersection of Gender and Caste: Re-scripting Rape in Dalit Feminist Narratives,” in South Asian Feminisms, eds. Ania Loomba and Ritty Lukose (Duke University Press, 2012) pp. 224-243.

“Marking the Boundaries of a New Literary Identity: The Assertion of ‘Dalit Consciousness’ in Dalit Literary Criticism,” in Religion and Identity in South Asia and Beyond: Essays in Honor of Patrick Olivelle, ed. Steven E. Lindquist (Anthem Press, 2011) pp. 347-368.

“Good Dalits and Bad Brahmins: Melodramatic Realism in Dalit Short Stories,” South Asia Research 30:2 (2010) pp. 125-144.

“The Emerging Complexity of Dalit Consciousness,” Himal South Asian 23:1 (2010) pp. 44-47

“Mainstreaming Marginalized Voices: the Dalit Lekhak Sangh and the Negotiations over Hindi Dalit Literature” in Claiming Power from Below: Dalits and the Subaltern Question in India, eds. Anne Feldhaus and Manu Bhagavan (Oxford University Press, 2008)

“Dalit Chetna in Dalit Literary Criticism,” Seminar no. 558 (2006)

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