My areas of specialization are postcolonial theory and literatures, cultural studies, continental philosophy, and the history of ideas. More specifically, my first book (Utopia and the Village in South Asian Literatures, Palgrave Macmillan 2012) centered on looking at the village as a trope in 20th century literatures of India and Sri Lanka and introduced a new critical model for analyzing the distinct yet connected literary histories of the two nations. Utopia was nominated for the MLA First Book Prize as well as the ICAS Book Prize in 2013, and reviewsof the book have appeared in eminent journals in the field. I am also a poet and short story writer, and my first volume of poetry (Twenty Odd Love Poems) was published by The Writer's Workshop in 2008. My short stories have featured in obscure magazines and on ghostly websites and I continue to struggle with that genre in a way that perhaps only fellow-poets understand.
Ph.D. in English (U of Toronto, 2010)
M.Phil. in English, University First Rank with Distinction (Delhi U)
M.A. English, University Gold Medalist (Delhi U)
B.A. (Hons.) English, University First Rank (Delhi U)
I completed my B.A. (H), M.A., and M.Phil. in English at the Delhi University where I was awarded the university's first rank in B.A. English (H), the Delhi University Gold Medal in M.A. English for both years of the Masters program, and the only Distinction with First Class that year in M.Phil. English. Teaching stints at St. Stephen's College and Jesus and Mary College convinced me that my love of academics was going to be lifelong. I enrolled for a PhD at the University of Toronto in 2004 and convocated in 2010 with Distinction in Special Fields and the Christopher Wallis Ontario Graduate Scholarship for International Students (awarded to only sixty scholars in the province of Ontario across all disciplines).
At UToronto, I specialized in postcolonial theory and literatures, cultural studies, and comparative literary studies, with particular focus on 20th century India and Sri Lanka. In 2010, I accepted the offer to teach in the Dept. of English at the University of Nevada Reno as an Assistant Professor and in the three years that I worked at UNR, I taught a diversity of undergraduate and graduate subjects such as Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory, Indian and other South Asian Writing in English, European Continental Philosophy and Postcolonial Literatures. At UNR, I also mentored and advised undergraduate and graduate students for their term end papers and for their M.A. and Ph.D. dissertations.
In July 2013, I joined Presidency University's Department of English. I have published articles on Indian theatre, queer theory and poetry, and Euro-Asian modernisms in various peer-reviewed journals. My academic monograph Utopia and the Village in South Asian Literatures was published by Palgrave Macmillan, U.K., in 2012.
Research / Administrative Experience+
My research is primarily in the 20th century, esp. the literary histories of India and Sri Lanka in that period. I am attracted to the theoretical work of structuralists and continue to use structuralist and poststructuralist approaches in my pedagogy. An abiding interest in the ethical capacities of subaltern figures has marked much of my research and thinking of the past five years, and my current project works to revive the literary-historical tradition of thinking through social problems as ethical dilemmas. My work also focuses on examining the field of postcolonial studies through texts -- verbal, visual, and musical -- that challenge some of the field's founding principles and unpack postcolonialism's own entrenchment within class dynamics. I am currently writing two long, inter-related pieces on Amitav Ghosh's Ibis Trilogy as a map to redraw the contours of the postcolonial novel. I am also involved in a research project -- with two assistants -- on a cross-translational study of Ismat Chughtai's famous short story "Lihaaf."
My monograph, Utopia and the Village in South Asian Literatures (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), builds a model for writing a literary history for South Asia in the 20th century. I focus on a few representative novels from India and Sri Lanka where villages figure as metonyms for the nation-state and are often mapped out on the lines of a binary: as utopia or dystopia. By using the trope of the rural (and not the ubiquitous city), I follow the intersecting trajectories of select key writers and their texts to argue for a very particular definition of utopia in the South Asian context, a definition that ties up the literary traditions of the subcontinent with its religious histories (Hindu-dominant in India; and Sinhala-Buddhist-dominant in Sri Lanka). Recent fiction from South Asia has, however, deconstructed such a binary, impelled partly by the dissatisfactions of post-colonial nationalisms, and partly by the drive to represent in writing a positive vision of cosmopolitanism untethered to only the urban and metropolitan. Following, but also nuancing, Michel Foucault, I call this emergent body of writing heterotopic. The monograph was nominated for the Balakian Prize, the ICAS Book Prize, and the MLA First Book Prize (2013), and reviews of the work have appeared in preeminent journals/websites (details below).
Teaching / Other Experience+
At the various universities that I have taught in different capacities (Delhi U, UToronto, and UNR), I taught courses in European Critical Thought, South Asian Literatures (including the Diasporic Literatures of South Asia), and Feminist and Queer Criticism and Literatures. At Presidency, I am currently teaching Postcolonial Theory and Literatures, Indian Writing in English, Greek poetry, and critical methodologies.
Post Graduate Supervision+
I have been Mentor and Advisor to undergraduate and postgraduate students on topics that align with my areas of interest and where I feel I can be of benefit to the student. Please contact me by email should you be interested in writing a long/term paper and/or more sustained theoretical work in English and comparative literary studies.
Member, Editorial Board, Journal of South Asian Studies
Reviewer for SAR: South Asian Review
Reviewer for JDTC: Journal of Drama Theory and Criticism
Reviewer for ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
Reviewer for Longman Pearson, U.K.
Modern Language Association (MLA)
South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
Society of the Study of Multi-Ethnic America Literature in the US (MELUS)
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
Utopia and the Village in South Asian Literatures (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
Utopia and the Village in South Asian Literatures. 2012. Reprinted as paperback. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
Prizes and Honours:
Nominated for the MLA First Book Prize 2013
Nominated by Palgrave Macmillan to the International Convention of Asian Scholars (ICAS) Book Prize 2012-’13
Placed #1 on the London School of Economics Review of Books Eight Must-Read Books on and around the Theme of “Utopia” 2016. LINK: (http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2016/02/22/lse-lit-fest-2016-reading-list-eight-must-read-books-on-and-around-the-theme-of-utopia/)
Reviewed in: i) Comparative Literature Studies. (52.4, 2015-16) by Barnita Bagchi
ii) South Asian Review. (36.1, 2015) by Aniruddha Mukhopadhyay
iii) Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific (September 2014) by Nida Sajid. http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue36/sajid_review.htm
iv) The Year’s Work in English Studies (2014) by Sally Carpentier, Mridula Nath Chakraborty, et. al.
v) Postcolonial Text. Vol. 8, No. 2 (2013) by Anita Anantharam
vi) Journal of Postcolonial Writing. January 2013 by Nicola Robinson.
vii) London School of Economics and Political Science Review of Books. Nov 2012 by Gerardo Serra.
viii) South Asian Women’s Network (SAWNET). (Sept 2012) by Lisa E. J. Lau.
“‘Of women like us:’ Sappho’s Voice: Reading the Sapphic Palimpsest.” Lesbian Voices: Canada and the World. Ed. Subhash Chandra. New Delhi: Allied Publishers, 2006. 73-88.
“Introduction to Queer Theory.” Literary Theory: Textual Applications. Ed. Shormishtha Panja. New Delhi: Worldview, 2002. 119-27.
“The Paradoxes of Realism: Martin Wickramasinghe and The Jatakas in Sinhala Literature,” Université Paris and University of Rouen-Le Havre Press. (forthcoming)
“Translated Worlds: Passages, Journeys, Returns.” With Chandrima Chakraborty. Postcolonial Text. Special Double Issue, Translated Worlds: History, Diaspora, South Asia. Postcolonial Text, Vol. 10, No 3 & 4, 2015.
“Giraya and the Gothic Space: Nationalism and the Novel in Sri Lanka.” University of Toronto Quarterly. 84.4. (Nov. 2015). 29-53
“Imagining Ceylon: The Special Cases of Leonard Woolf and Martin Wickramasinghe.” Phoenix: Sri Lanka Journal of English in the Commonwealth. Ed. Walter Perera. (2015). Vol. XII. 59-75.
“Sri Lanka” World Literature Today. Ed. Scott Slovic. Norman: U of Oklahoma P. Vol. 88 Number 3, May 2014.
““Colonial Cousins: Mohandas Gandhi, Leonard Woolf, and the Place of the Rural” Nethra Review. 11.2. (December 2010).
“Girish Karnad and Feminist Possibilities: Reading Naga-mandala.” Intersections. 22. (October 2009).
“Mixing Memoir and Desire.” Rev. of Kaghazi hai Pairahan: The Paper Attire by Ismat Chughtai. Trans. By Noor Zaheer. OUP: 2016. The Book Review. Vol. 41. No. 19. October 2017.
Rev. of Juki Girls, Good Girls: Gender and Cultural Politics in Sri Lanka’s Global Garment Industry by Caitryn Lynch. SAWNET: South Asian Women’s Network. (2009)
Rev. of A House by the Sea by Sikeena Karmali. Canadian Literature 192 (Spring 2007): 112-13.
Rev. of City of Rains by Nirmal Dass. Canadian Literature 185 (Summer 2005): 144-45.
“Class, Subalternity, and Ethical Choice in Modern India,” Café Dissensus, Issue 9 – Inland Labour Migration in India. August 2014.
“The Languages of Sexual Violence” Kafila. February 2013.
"Sestina" and "Ithaca Blues: Rondeau Triptych," Paris, 2017
“Murgh-e-qibla-numa.” Postcolonial Text. Vol. 10, No. 4, 2015
“The Interloper.” Caesurae: Poetics of Cultural Translation. January 2015
“The Gift.” Café Dissensus, 2014.
“Down, Across.” Writer’s Circle. Magazine of the University of Toronto, 2012.
Twenty Odd Love Poems. Kolkata: Writer’s Workshop, 2008.