|Dr. Pamela Lothspeich is an assistant professor of South Asian literature and culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Columbia University, New York in 2003. Her research interests include the Indian epics in Hindi literature and theater, particularly the Ramlila tradition, and Indian literature and nationalism. Her first book, Epic Nation: Reimagining the Mahabharata in the Age of Empire (Oxford University Press 2009), explores the relationship between a vogue for Hindu classicism in Hindi letters and the rise of Hindu nationalism in north India in the decades leading up to independence.
Dr. Lothspeich’s Fulbright research project, “In Rama’s Kingdom: The Radheshyam Ramayana and its Performance,” concerns a modern version of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, composed in Hindi in the early twentieth century by Radheshyam Kathavachak (1890-1963), and the performance of the text in devotional concerts and more prevalently, in the folk theater of Ramlila (‘the divine sport of Rama’). She is especially interested in amateur performances in Bareilly and the nearby cities of Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit. In connection with this research, she will interview Ramlila actors and other participants as well as Radheshyam Kathavachak’s descendents.