The Encyclopaedic Dictionary of South Asian Literature (DELI) project


Aims and scope

The DELI project is a French collaborative research project that aims to gather, spread and develop scholarship on South Asian literature in France. It has two main objectives: the first is to develop both a paper and online encyclopaedia of South Asian literature by collecting knowledge on South Asia’s literary traditions from the beginning to the contemporary period. Taking into account most South Asian languages as well as ancient and modern, oral and written, and lesser-known literary cultures (such as folk, diaspora or tribal literature), the encyclopaedia will also cover their contexts of production in India and reception in France. Offering an original overview of the variety and richness of South Asian literary cultures, it will make significant scholarship available to the scientific community and to the general public.

The second aim and broader framework of enquiry of the DELI project is to reconsider the nature of South Asia’s literary cultures by exploring and by publicizing some of their specificities, such as cultural and literary dynamism, multilingualism, oral performance and transmission. By reflecting on the dominant contemporary understanding of South Asia’s literary cultures, the project will encourage cross-disciplinary debates on literariness, on the relationship between literature and religious community, on the politics of literature in South Asia or on the self-representation of literary traditions.

The project further supports and organizes academic events, workshops, international conferences and seminars on these topics to strengthen connections between scholars working in this field in France, as well as to develop collaboration and exchange with scholars working on South Asian literatures abroad.


Besides the print publication, the DELI encyclopaedia will develop a digital research platform that will collect extensive multimedia content (audio and video recordings, photographs, images, maps, original texts and translations, digitized manuscripts, etc.) which will be available and searchable online, thus favouring a dynamic, interdisciplinary and multi-dimensional understanding of South Asian literature. Its highly readable content will notably build on the holdings of the BULAC library and enable links to external websites, encyclopaedias, databases, and bibliographic resources in French and other languages that will offer a unique research tool for specialists and students interested in South Asian languages and literatures. The online platform will eventually become an interactive forum that will be continually updated and open to further contributions.

The target audience includes scholars, researchers, teachers and students of the field, as well as any person interested in aspects of South Asian literature and culture.

Members and institutional partners

The DELI project involves a large research and editorial team of recognized experts in South Asian literature from universities in France and abroad. It is coordinated by three scientific project managers and editors: Anne Castaing (CNRS, CEIAS), Nicolas Dejenne (Paris 3, UMR 7528 MII) and Claudine Le Blanc (Paris 3, CERC); and two project coordinators: Samuel Tronçon (Résurgences) and Eve Tignol (Paris 3, UMR 7528 MII).

The DELI project is developed in cooperation with several institutional partners: the Centre for Indian and South Asian Studies (CEIAS), Iranian and Indian Worlds (MII), the Centre for Comparative Research and Study (CERC), the BULAC Oriental library as well as the Résurgences think-tank specialised in digital humanities.



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