Dickens Leonard | Humanities & Social Sciences

Dickens Leonard

Dickens Leonard
Assistant Professor
CV Summary: 

Dickens Leonard's educational background and research interests lie in literary studies, comparative literature, film and cultural studies, translation, and the history of anti-caste thought. He is largely interested in critical humanities, in the intersection of these disciplines, as it paves the way towards a meaningful and transformatory pedagogy for Human Sciences. Besides researching, and recently teaching in this area, his current research explores anti-caste intellectual thought and comparative cultural studies in India, foregrounding the Tamil cosmopolis particularly. His publications generally explore how anti-caste intellectuals engaged with religion and literature in the context of colonialism and print in India; and the spatial dynamics of (re)presentation in contemporary Tamil cinema and culture. He is also developing research on literature, culture, and community especially on the interrelation between comparative ethics and aesthetics.

Researchers interested in anti-caste thought or cinematic cultures from "vernacular" and "regional" (con)texts either within the Indian and/or diaspora background may send their detailed proposal to the official email id.

Contact Information

Office: MS 604A
Humanities and Social Sciences
IIT Delhi, Hauz Khas
New Delhi: 110016

Phone: +91 11 2659-8746
Email: dleonardm[at]hss.iitd.ac.in

Research Areas

Anti-caste Thought and Community;

Cinema and Print Cultures;

Literature and Modernity;

Translation and Dalit Studies.

Academic Background

2004–2007: BA, Department of English, Loyola College, University of Madras.

2007–2009: MA, Department of English, University of Hyderabad.

2009–2011: MPhil, Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad.

2011–2017: PhD, Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad.

2016-2017: DAAD Visiting-PhD Fellow, Center for Modern Indian Studies, University of Goettingen.

Employment History

July 2017–Dec 2020: Guest Faculty & Assistant Professor (Comp. Lit.) CCL, University of Hyderabad.

Dec 2020–Oct 2021: Assistant Professor (Cultural Studies) CSSSC, Kolkata.

Oct 2021–present: Assistant Professor (Literature) HSS, IIT Delhi.



2023. "Sarithiram as Interpretative Pedagogy: Iyothee Thass's Casteless Community and History," Critical Philosophy of Race (Penn State Univ. Press), Vol 11, No 1, January. Pp 94-119.


2023. "Collective Sounds: Pa. Ranjith's Cinema, Gaana and Fusion Music," South Asian Popular Culture (Taylor and Francis), Vol 21, No 1 (Sep 2022 Online). Pp 105-22.


2021. “Caste-less Tamils and Early Print Public Sphere: Remembering Iyothee Thass (1845-914),” South Asia Research (Sage), Vol 41, No 3, November. Pp 349-68.


2020. “Rohith-Movement, Conversion and Re-naming: Notes from Hyderabad.” Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory (Duke Univ. Press), Vol 3, No 3, Dec. Pp 519-27.


2019. “Towards a Casteless Community: Dalit Experience and Thought as ‘Movement’.” Economic and Political Weekly (Special Article), Vol 54, No 21, May 25. Pp 47-54.


2017. “One Step Inside Tamilian: On the Anti-Caste Writing of Language.” Social Scientist, Vol 45, Issue 1-2, January-February. Pp 19-32.


2015. “Spectacle Spaces: Production of Caste in recent Tamil films.” South Asian Popular Culture (Taylor & Francis), Vol 13, Issue 2, October. Pp 155-173.



2023. “Caste and Religion: A Critical Survey.” Sacrafanations—Dalit Religion(s): Epistemology, Theology, and Politics. Ed. Y.T. Vinayaraj. ISPCK & CISRS, 2023. Pp 19-50.


2022. "Magizhchi: 'The Casteless Collective' and the Sensorial Exscription," Coauthored with Manju Edachira in The Routledge Companion to Caste and Cinema in India. Eds. Joshil K. Abraham and Judith Misrahi-Barak. Routledge, pp 63-76.


2021. “Conscripts of Cinema: Dangerous and Deviant Third Wave.” Tamil Cinema in the Twenty-First Century: Caste, Gender and Technology. Eds. Selvaraj Velayutham and Vijay Devadas. Routledge, pp 36-51.


2019. “Anti-caste Communitas and Out-caste Experience: Space, Body, Displacement and Writing.” The Politics of Belonging in Contemporary India: Anxiety and Intimacy. Ed. Kaustav Chakraborty. Routledge, pp. 101-125.


2019. “From Discourse to Critique? Iyothee Thass and the Dalit Intellectual Legacy.” Multilingualism and the Literary Culture of India. Ed. M.T. Ansari. Sahitya Akademi, pp 200-234.


2019. “Incommensurable Sacral-Secular Sectarianism? Rohith-Movement and the Emergence of the Inappropriable,” co-authored with P. Thirumal in Secular Sectarianism: Limits of Subaltern Politics. Ed. Ajay Gudavarthy. Sage, pp 23-35.


Popular Articles

Teaching Areas

Critical Theory and Contemporary Thought;

Indian Literatures and Cinema;

Literary and Cultural Studies;

Print History and Social Movements.