Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Gregory Goulding

Associate Professor, Graduate Chair

Williams Hall 807
By Appointment

Research Interests

I am a scholar primarily of the literatures of northern India. While my current work looks at Hindi in the twentieth century, I am interested in the long term in thinking of Hindi as part of the larger literary ecosystem of north India, including its interactions with other modern literary cultures, as well as the various ways in which it is in conversation with pre-modern literatures. I work primarily with sources in Hindi, Marathi, and Urdu, with the goal of working with Sanskrit and Bangla in the future.

My current book project, titled Cold War Genres: Local and International in Hindi Literary Culture, 1940–1980, investigates the interplay between post-independence Hindi literature and Nehruvian India's internationalism during the early Cold War and non-aligned movement era. The project explores questions of genre and form across various literary cultures, in the context of debates over realism and modernism in the 1950s and 1960s. It takes as its central example the work of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (1917–1964), a left-oriented writer known primarily for his long, fantastic poems. Cold War Genres will be published by SUNY University Press in Fall 2024.

Following Cold War Genres, my next book project is tentatively titled "Central Borderlands: Literature, Landscape and Identity in a Multilingual Zone." This project will look at modern central India—which today includes the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Maharashtra, as well as parts of Telangana and Jharkhand—as a unified region, defined as a borderlands region through successive Maratha and British empires and processes of settler colonialism and peripheralization. The result, the project contends, is a modern multilingual area, defined in no small part by the imagination of this space as distinct, including a unique relationship to the forest, and feelings of indigeneity, belonging, and outsider-ness. This project will take up literatures in Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, and English, and will also engage with recent Adivasi literature, especially in the context of ideas of global indigeneity and contestations of peripheralization.

My other research interests, developed in articles under development and future projects, include the history of meter and free verse in South Asian literatures; science fiction and fantastic literatures—and their tense relations with discourses of realism; intersections between Hindi and Urdu, especially following independence; and developing new methodologies of thinking about South Asian literary cultures in comparative frameworks.

To meet with me, please use the following links: Grad Chair; Grad Academic; Undergrad OH


Selected Publications

“Bāṇa, Vyomkesh Shastri, Stella Kramrisch: Authority and authorship in Hazariprasad Dvivedi’s Bāṇabhaṭṭa kī ‘ātmakathā’.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic SocietyJanuary 2024.

“Urban Space across Genre: the Cities of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh,” in The Oxford Handbook of Indian Literature, October 2023.

“The Tale of a Tyre: Travel, Infrastructure, and History in S.H. Vatsyayan’s Are Yayavar Rahega Yad?”. Modern Asian Studies, September 2023. 

"'My Unwritten Novel': The Long Poems of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh between Genre and Form". Comparative Literature, September 2021.

Courses Taught

SAST 0007 Introduction to Modern South Asian Literatures

SAST 6626 South Asian Modernisms: Literature, History, Theory

SAST 0004 India's Literature: Love, War, Wisdom and Humor

SAST 1120 Community, Freedom, Violence: Writing the South Asian City

SAST 225 South Asian Sci-Fi 



220 Creating New Worlds: The Modern Indian Novel