Meet our graduates: Kimaya Kulkarni
An MSc in Comparative Literature graduate, Kimaya is the founding editor of the bilingual Bilori Journal, part of the ‘decoloniszing our bookshelves’ project on marginalised and intersectional identities.
Having graduated in Philosophy from Fergusson College in her native Pune, Maharashtra (India), Kimaya Kulkarni was looking for a masters programme that would allow her to make sense of the world through a different discipline, one with components that challenged the Western canon.
She found what she wanted in the MSc in Comparative Literature in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), where her courses included World Literature, Fantastic Fiction, and Research Skills, Methods and Problems, and where she fostered supportive friendships with classmates from Greece, Lithuania, Mexico and USA and found “timely warmth and guidance” in her dissertation supervisor, Dr Fiona Mackintosh.
After graduating from LLC in 2018, Kimaya did a communications internship, worked as an arts and culture features writer for the Times of India Pune Mirror, and was a freelance scriptwriter for the Oxford University Press, India, scripting animated videos for school-going English learners.
Here she talks to us about how LLC helped shape the ways in which she views the world today, leading to her involvement in ‘decoloniszing our bookshelves’ and Bilori Journal.
A guiding post
Decoloniszing our bookshelves is a project dedicated to making literature by authors of marginalised and intersectional identities more visible and accessible.
Kimaya has been involved with the collaborative community project since its beginnings in June 2020, and has now established Bilori, a bilingual Marathi and English journal publishing critical and personal essays about works of literature from around the world that remain under-marketed, lesser-known, suppressed and marginalised.
Explaining how her experience of studying Comparative Literature at LLC led her to these projects, she says the programme “changed how I look at the world of literature, in that I started looking at myself as a reader or researcher who is an active participant in creating and developing this system and network of texts that become more or less visible depending on who is showing or who is looking.”
“I became aware of “positionality,” of systems of structure and power that make something more or less “legitimate.” This is what works as a guiding post for me on both decoloniszing our bookshelves and Bilori Journal”.
What inspires me? It’s hard right now in the age of hyperconnectivity when the news comes as a daily reminder of our mortality and of everything that is wrong with the world. Finding solid conceptual or intellectual ground then becomes a source of solace for me. I have found that philosophy always comes to the rescue in moments of self-pity, hopelessness, self-doubt or overconfidence.
Bilori Journal is open for Marathi and English submissions for Issue 1 until 30th November 2020. Research and personal essays/think pieces of between 500 and 3000 words are invited on unknown or lesser-known works of literature, books in various languages or translation and other topics.
Are you interested in taking an MSc in Comparative Literature with us?
As the first UNESCO World City of Literature, and a major cultural hub, Edinburgh is the ideal place for the comparative study of literature. Bringing together an international community of learners, we live comparative literature in the classroom, where you’ll sharpen your critical, analytical and methodological skills, and explore a range of literary works from different linguistic and cultural systems.