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The DELI project

Wednesday 2 March 2016

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Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Indian Literature

Funded by : Idex USPC (Université Sorbonne Paris Cité)
Duration : 3 years (01/06/2015-31/05/2018)


Website of the project



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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 their beginnings 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. Thus 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 interdisciplinary debates on literariness, on the relationship between literature and religious community, on the politics of literature in South Asia, and on the periodisation and self-representation of literary traditions. The project will hence support and organise 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.

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, THALIM), Nicolas Dejenne (Paris 3, UMR Mondes iranien et indien) and Claudine Le Blanc (Paris 3, CERC); and two project coordinators: Samuel Tronçon (Résurgences) and Eve Tignol (Royal Holloway University of London).

The DELI project is funded by Idex USPC (Université Sorbonne Paris Cité) and developed in cooperation with several institutional partners: THALIM, UMR 7528 Mondes iranien et indien, CERC, Résurgences, and the BULAC (Bibliothèque Universitaire des Langues et Civilisations).