Ambedkar Initiative, Spring 2021

Understanding Systemic Racism: Art and Politics

Between Radical Promise & Despair: Dalit Literature & Movement in Karnataka

Featuring Devanoora Mahadeva (writer) and Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi (KREA)

Read the introductory statement and watch the archive of the Fall 2020 web series here.

The Ambedkar lecture series is cosponsored by the Office of EVP of Arts and Sciences; Barnard Provost’s Office; Office of the Deans of Humanities and Social Sciences; IRAAS; AAADS; IRCPL; MESAAS; CSER; Columbia Committee on Global Thought; CU Libraries; and CU Press

For more information, please visit

Image result for Devanoora MahadevaDevanoora Mahadeva

Devanuru Mahadeva is an Indian writer, novelist and public intellectual who writes in Kannada language. Devanuru Mahadeva was born in 1948 in Devanuru village in Nanjanagudu Taluk, Mysore district of the Karnataka state, India. He worked at CIIL in Mysore, The Government of India conferred upon him the Padma Shri award, the fourth highest civilian award. Known among literary circles to be a rebel, Mahadeva rejected the Nrupatunga Award (carrying a purse of Rs 5,01,000) in 2010. Devanura's rejection of the award was based on his dissatisfaction that despite being the official language of the state, Kannada is yet to be made the primary language of instruction in schools and colleges. He wants Kannada to be made the medium of learning at least up to the college level. Mahadeva is a Central Sahitya Academy awardee for his novel Kusuma Baale. In the 1990s he rejected the government's offer to nominate him to Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Parliament of India) under the writer's quota.

Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi

Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi is a social historian, literary critic and political commentator. He studied history and literature at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and at the University of Chicago, from where he obtained a Ph.D. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, and was on the faculty of Humanities at the San Francisco State University. Most recently, Prithvi taught history at Karnataka State Open University, Mysore. He has also worked with the American Institute of Indian Studies and Bangalore Central University.

Prithvi’s research interests include the history of dissent, Indian intellectual and religious imaginations, literature and political theory. He has published widely on these themes, both in scholarly forums and popular media. Prithvi edited the works of A.K. Ramanujan and D.R. Nagaraj, which resulted in the publication of three books: Poetry and Prose from Kannada (OUP, 2005); The Flaming Feet and Other Essays on Dalit Movement in India (Permanent Black, 2010); and Listening to the Loom: Essays on Literature, Politics and Violence (Permanent Black, 2012) . At present, he is completing a manuscript entitled Hindu or Not: Anxieties of the Self and the Politics of History in the Making of Virashaiva-Lingayats, which explores the relationship between Vachana poetry and Virashaiva-Lingayat community. He is also translating a volume of Kannada short stories for Aleph Publishers, New Delhi. Prithvi has been a frequent contributor to the Indian Express, Outlook magazine and now writes regularly for He writes extensively in Kannada and is a well known Kannada columnist.