Christine Everaert

Curriculum Vitae

Christine Everaert portrait
  • Section Head / Coordinator of the Hindi, Urdu and South Asian Studies Program , Asian Studies Program
  • Assistant Professor, World Languages and Cultures


Research Summary

My research focuses on the relation between the Hindu and Muslim community and how both communities are depicted in Hindi and Urdu short story literature. I also study the differences between Hindi and Urdu versions of the same stories, both linguistically and stylistically. The approach of my research is highly cross-disciplinary and of interest to scholars of (socio)linguistics, literature, history and sociology of South Asia.

Research Statement

 The focus of my current and future research is on:

-     'translation between communities': I am working on a publication that further explores the 'stylistic' differences between Hindi and Urdu. During the research of my book, I unearthed tendencies of a preference for closed endings in Hindi versus open endings in Urdu, as well as a higher intolerance for impoliteness towards people of the upper class in Hindi than in Urdu. I am currently working on the further development and illustration of this, based on a larger corpus of stories.

-     Sufism in modern literary culture and popular entertainment: When one watches the music clips of the immensly popular songs 'Chaiya Chaiya' and 'Satrangi re', written by Gulzar, one hears up-beat, catchy, through-and-through Bollywood songs. It is hard to find more Indian than this: a love-song, to the tune of which the couple and a group of men dance on top of a driving train, with in the background an Indian mountainous landscape. A couple, performing a mysterious, erotic dance in the middle of the desert. But... is that all there's to it? 'Chaiya Chaiya' and 'Satrangi re' are the ideal song to illustrate how comprehension of history of literature, classical Persian writers and their philosophy, religion and society, as well as linguistics can add tremendously to descerning and grasping a deeper or hidden layer of popular culture.

-     comparative modern Hindi and Urdu 20th century 'subversive' and/or censored literature. Both languages have a very rich (so far mainly untranslated) literature and throughout the turbulent Indo-Pakistani history, literary creations have been censored or caused upheaval for a series of reasons. My current research project aims at illustrating the link between authority, culture and society on the one hand side and subversiveness of different topics on the other hand. Certain topics (religion, (homo)sexuality, blasphemy,...) have a higher likeliness of attracting problems when they are dealt with in literary prose. However, sometimes, these topics are used as pretext to (try to) censor literature, but the authorities have an underlying -political- reason. Moreover, what is considered shocking or unacceptable in one culture hardly raises an eyebrow in the other. For all these reasons combined, censored and subversive literature can give a very deep insight into Indo-Pakistani society and history throughout the 20th century. It shows how 'outcasts' can turn into national heroes and how the 'obvious objectionable contents' leading to censorship are actually only used as a pretext.

Research Keywords

  • Sufism in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Interest Level: 4
  • South Asian Languages and Literature, Interest Level: 5
  • Hindi and Urdu, Interest Level: 5