Associate Professor
ploth@email.unc.edu
New West 124

Adjunct Associate Professor in English and Comparative Literature

Coordinator of the South Asia Program, Department of Asian Studies
Group Coordinator, South Asia Faculty Working Group
Member of Advisory Committee, Department of Asian Studies
Member of Executive Committee, Carolina Asia Center

Research

I hold a Ph.D. in South Asian area studies and comparative literature from Columbia University. My research centers on modern adaptations of the Hindu epics in Hindi literature and film. I am especially interested in how the Mahabharata and the Ramayana have been reimagined, rewritten, and performed over the centuries to reflect new ideas and concerns. My first book, Epic Nation, Reimagining the Mahabharata in the Age of Empire (OUP 2009), concerns of the mythological genre in modern Hindi literature, and shows how it was an effective vehicle to covertly express anti-colonial nationalism, even as it helped establish an idiom for modern Hindi literature in the first half of the twentieth century. I am currently working on a book on Ramlila, a form of theatre which enacts the story of the Ramayana in an annual fall festival in India.

Courses

ASIA 61: First-Year Seminar: India Through the Lens of Master Filmmakers
ASIA 152: Survey of South Asian Cultural History
ASIA/CMPL 261: India through Western Eyes
ASIA 262: Nation, Film, and Novel in Modern India
ASIA 331/PWAD 331/HIST 335: Cracking India: Partition and its Legacy in South Asia
ASIA 332: The Story of Rama in India
ASIA 333: The Mahabharata: Remembered and Reimagined
ASIA/RELI 382: The Story of Rama in India–Experiential
ASIA/RELI 383: The Mahabharata: Remembered and Reimagined–Experiential
ASIA 522: The Beauty and the Power of the Classical Indian World

Publications

people.lothspeich.book.epicnation Epic Nation: Reimagining the Mahabharata in the Age of Empire.  New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009.

 

Selected articles

Ras and Affect in Ramlila (and the Radheshyam Ramayana),” Asian Theatre Journal 36:1 (Spring 2019).

 

“Chasing the Parsi Theatre in Bareilly,” TDR: The Drama Review T226, 59:2 (Summer 2015): 9-45.

“Behind the Scenes of Heroic Abhimanyu,” TDR: The Drama Review T226, 59:2 (Summer 2015): 46-57.

“The Radheshyam Ramayana and the Sanskritization of Khari Boli Hindi,” Modern Asian Studies 47:5 (September 2013): 1644-1677.

“The Mahabharata’s Imprint on Contemporary Literature and Film,” in Popular Culture in a Globalised India, ed. K. Moti Gokulsing and Wimal Dissanayake (London: Routledge, 2009), 82-94.

“The Mahābhārata as National History and Allegory in Modern Tales of Abhimanyu,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 71:2 (June 2008): 255-277.

“Unspeakable Outrages and Unbearable Defilements: Rape Narratives in the Literature of Colonial India,” Postcolonial Text 3:1 (2007): 1-19.  http://postcolonial.org/index.php/pct/article/view/604/0

Bibliography

“The Mahābhārata in Hindu Tradition,” Oxford Bibliographies in Hinduism, edited by Tracy Coleman,

http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/ revised ed. (uploaded August 2018).

Curatorial and Creative Work

Co-curator, “Ramlila: The Story of Rama and Indian Devotional Theatre” [multi-media exhibit]; The FedEx Global Education Center at UNC at Chapel Hill; August 18, 2015-December 13, 2015. http://global.unc.edu/event/ramlila-exhibition/

Curator, “The Ramlila in Pandit Radheshyam’s Bareilly (and other venues, big and small)” [multi-media exhibit]; Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, WI; October 18, 2014; and The Chatham County Library, Pittsboro, NC; August 25-October 31, 2015.