University of Wisconsin–Madison

B. Venkat Mani
German, Professor

Languages: German, Turkish, Hindi, Urdu

Research/Language Interests: 19th to 21st Century German literature and culture; World literature; Translation;  the Novel; Migrants and Refugees in the German, European, and global contexts; Literature and Migration;  Print- and digital cultural histories; Theories of cosmopolitanism, globalization, post-colonialism, and transnationalism.

Education: 2001 Ph.D. German Studies, Stanford University; 1996 M.A. German Studies, Stanford University; 1995 M.A. German Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; 1993 B.A. (Honors) German Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Affiliated Departments: IRIS (Institute for Regional and International Studies); Center for the History of Print and Digital Cultures

Undergraduate Courses: Introduction to World Literatures (LitTrans/ German 276); Tales of the Brothers Grimm: From the Nation to the World (LitTrans/German 276); From Gutenberg to the iPad: Books, World, Literature (German 236); Migration in Literature, Film, and Music (German 236); Bücher, Leser, Bibliotheken (German 362); Migration, Literatur und Kultur (German 676); Kosmopolitismus in deutscher Literatur, Philosophie, und Film (German 676); The Other Germany (German 676); 20th and 21st Century German Literature and Culture (German 411).

Graduate Courses: Germany’s Migrants: Texts and Contexts (German 804, Interdisciplinary CGES Graduate Seminar);  Transnational Approaches to German Studies (German 804, Interdisciplinary CGES Graduate Seminar); Comparative World Literature (German 948); The Global Book: World Literature in the World Market (German 742).

About Me: I received my BA (Honors) (1993) and MA (1995) in German Studies from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Ph.D. in German Studies from Stanford University (2001). In addition, I attended the University of Vienna, Bogazici University in Istanbul, and the Freie Universität, Berlin. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on 19th to 21st Century German literature and culture, world literature in translation, migration in the German and European context, book- and digital cultural histories, and theories of cosmopolitanism, globalization, post-colonialism, and transnationalism. I founded and co-directed UW-Madison’s World Literature/s Research Workshop (2007-2016). My publications include Cosmpolitical Claims: Turkish-German Literatures from Nadolny to Pamuk (University of Iowa Press, 2007) and Recoding World Literature: Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany’s Pact with Books (Fordham University Press, 2017). In addition I have co-edited three volumes and I am the co-editor of the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature (2018). Recent Awards and Grants include Alexander for Humboldt Foundation’s Fellowship for Senior Researchers [2011-12; 2013; Host institution: Institute of Book Studies, University of Leipzig], and Andrew Mellon Foundation’s, Mellon Sawyer Seminar in Comparative Cultural Studies Grant for the project, “Bibliomigrancy: World Literature in the Public Sphere” (2014-16), and UW-Madison’s Kellett Research Award (2017-20). I currently also serve as Director, Center for South Asia, UW-Madison.

Selected Publications



2017 Recoding World Literature: Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany’s Pact with Books. New York:  Fordham University Press, 2017. Winner of the 2018 DAAD Book Prize of the German Studies Association in Germanistik and Cultural Studies.
2007 Cosmopolitical Claims: Turkish-German Literatures from Nadolny to Pamuk. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007. Honorable Mention: 2010 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies.


Edited Volumes


2019 The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature (5 Volumes) with Ken Seigneurie et al. Wiley Blackwell, 2018. Associate Editor for European and South Asian Literatures (Volumes 1-4); co-Editor, 20th and 21st Centuries (Volume 5).
2016 Measuring the World” with Pamela Potter. Special Issue of Monatshefte für deutschsprachige Literatur und Kultur (Fall 2016, Issue 108.3).
2013 “What Counts as World Literature?” with Caroline Levine. Special Issue of Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary History (Vol. 74. 2, 2013).
2011 “Transnational and Cosmopolitical Approaches to German Studies.” with Elke Segelcke. Special Issue of TRANSIT: A Journal of Travel, Migration and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World, (Vol. 7. 1, 2011).


Recent Articles and Book Chapters


2018 Multilingual Code-Stitching in Ultraminor World Literatures: Reading Abhimanyu Unnuth’s Lāla Pasī (1977) with Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies (2008).” Journal of World Literature, Special Issue on Debating World Literature. Omid Azadibougar and David Damrosch (ed.s). 3.3 (2018): 373-399.
2018 “Passport Stories: Aesthetic Affordances, Political Forms, and Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s Short Fiction.” Gegenwartsliteratur Vol. XVII, 2018. [6,000 words]. In Production
2018 “Rights, Permissions, Claims: World Literature and the Borders of Reading.”

PMLA. Special Issue on Geographies of Reading. Editors Evelyne Ender and Deidre Lynch. [3000 words] In Production.

2017 “Migrants, Refugees, Exiles: Cosmopolitical Claims Beyond Willkommenskultur.” “Forum on Migration Studies.” The German Quarterly. 90.2 (2017): 219-222.
2017 “Unpacking Orhan Pamuk’s Library.” In Sevinç Türkkan and David Damrosch (ed.s) Approaches to Teaching Orhan Pamuk. New York: PMLA, 2017: 221-235.
2016 “Weltliteratur als „Bibliomigrancy“: Auf Emine Sevgi Özdamars Sprachzüge.” In Edition Text+Kritik: Zeitschrift für Literatur. Special Issue on Emine Sevgi Özdamar. Yasemin Dayioglu-Yücel and Ortrud Gutjahr (ed.s). (VII, 2016/211): 59-70.
2016 “Libraries.” In Eric Hayot and Rebecca Walkowitz, (ed.s) A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016: 130-145.



A Library of World Literature. Translation, with Introduction, of Hermann Hesse’s Eine Bibliothek der Weltliteratur (1929). Journal of World Literature 3.4 (2018). In Production.