Outcaste Press is a project that grew out of the 2017 LARB/USC Publishing Workshop. Run by founding editor Varsha Ayyar, Outcaste is the first international Dalit feminist press committed to promoting anti-caste principles worldwide and to bringing global attention to Dalit women’s writings. Rooted in the anti-caste thought of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and the radical feminism of Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule, Outcaste press sheds light on the struggles of India’s marginalized groups with a focus on Dalit literature.
The vision of Outcaste Press is to become a catalyst of social transformation: to educate, organize, and agitate for a more equitable and enlightened India. Outcaste intends to publish academic monographs, collections of essays, fiction, non-fiction, and works in translation that strongly focus on anti-caste thought, social justice, and feminism. It is interested in bringing diversity to women’s writings and advancing critical debates on caste, untouchability, gender, social democracy, and politics of identity and social difference.
From founding editor Varsha Ayyar:
I am a Dalit (ex-untouchable) — an outcaste. My community is considered as defiling and polluting. We face enormous violence and discrimination on an everyday basis, even today, despite the prohibition of untouchability and a Constitution that guarantees equality. Inequalities here have only deepened due to gender, religion, class, and caste.
To deal with this inheritance of systemic oppression, inequality, and discrimination, all I have had in life to heal was (and is): education, my people’s history of the anti-caste movement, Dalit, African American, and feminist literature. I remember reading Toni Morrison’s quote: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I want to read a million stories in which we are the protagonists. The dream has turned into a reality with Outcaste Press.