Professor and Head of the Department
My areas of broad specialization are Narrative Theory, Gender Studies and 19th century musical forms of Bengal. For my PhD, I used a comparative framework to study the many interrelationships between gender, genre, postcolonial contexts and writing as agency, with special emphasis on African and African American women's writing. I have also explored at length the emergence of a black feminist critical vocabulary, which stresses matrilineal traditions in art. In recent times I have tried to bring my interest in narrative and musical traditions of 19th century Bengal, together, by tracing the many musical confluences in the Ramakrishna Kathamrita, where music and documentary realism, dialogize in interesting ways. Again, some of my most recent writing has looked at how classical ragas constitute the core aesthetic appeal of many of Rabindranath Tagore’s songs (Hindustan Times, August 2015), and how in some, raga and spiritual quest intersect in such powerful ways, that one can’t think of the one without the other (RMIC Bulletin). I have also been extensively trained in Rabindrasangeet.
PhD (Jadavpur, Comparative Literature), M.A. in English (Jadavpur), M.A. in Comparative Literature (Rutgers University), B.A. in English (Presidency College), Diplôme de langue Française (Alliance Française de Calcutta), Fulbright Visiting Lecturer Fellow, 2011.
Hindustani Classical vocal (A.T. Kanan, Kabita Gupta), Light Classical vocal (Amarnath Mukherjee), Rabindrasangeet (Smt. Bibha Sengupta, Smt. Maya Sen and Smt. Gita Sen)
I studied for my Honours degree in English at Presidency College, between the years 1979—1982. Subsequently, I went on to live in America during 1982—1994, and studied for two M.A. degrees during that period, one in English and the other in Comparative Literature. I started teaching at Basanti Devi College, from November 1996 and in April 2005, I was awarded the PhD degree. In the Fall of 2011, I went on a Fulbright Visiting Lecturer Fellowship to San Diego State University, Department of English and Comparative Literature, to teach an upper level undergraduate course on Indian Women Writing English (1875—2006).
Research / Administrative Experience+
I have recently completed a Minor Research Project on questions of language, representation and post independence in some novels of Ashapurna Devi, Mahasweta Devi, Anita Desai and Arundhati Roy. Part of the thrust of my recent research has also been on tracing the many evolving forms of spiritual quest and melody in Rabindranath Tagore’s songs and in studying how classical forms such as kheyal, dhrupad, tappa and thumri, dialogize with more indigenous and folk traditions like baul and kirtan. In addition, I intend to take my research into the many intersections of powerful Bengali musical traditions in the Ramakrishna Kathamrita, further.
I have served as Head of the Department of English at Basanti Devi College, for over 6 years, and this involved holding admissions examinations, departmental seminars, and other related administrative responsibilities. I have also been convener of a U.G.C. Regional Seminar entitled, “Romanticism, Victorianism and Modernism: Convergences and Divergences,” held at that college in April, 2008. I have served as Honours Coordinator for the University of Calcutta, in 2007 and 2008. I also framed the syllabus for the M.A. in English, instituted at Basanti Devi College, from 2013, and been the principal editor of the Special Edition of the Basanti Devi College Magazine, 2015, on Women and Empowerment.
Teaching / Other Experience+
1. Shakespeare :Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2. John Osborne: Look Back In Anger
3. Joseph Conrad: The Secret Sharer
4. Rabindranath Tagore: Ghare Baire in translation as Home and the World
5. Wordsworth: “Tintern Abbey”
6. Coleridge: “Kubla Khan”
7. W.B. Yeats: “An Acre of Grass”
8. Katherine Mansfield: The Fly
9. History of English Literature: Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and prose
Post graduate at Lady Brabourne College (2010—2014):
1. Toni Morrison: Beloved
2. Alice Walker: “In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens”
3. Valerie Smith: “Black Feminist Theory and the Representation of the Other”.
4. Manju Kapoor: Difficult Daughters
5. Kiran Desai: Inheritance of Loss
6. Jhumpa Lahiri: Interpreter of Maladies
7. Eugene O’Neill: Long Day’s Journey into Night
8. Girish Karnad: Tughlaq
I have been actively involved in the cultural programs for the NAAC visits at Basanti Devi College, in the years 2004 and 2012. I have participated at College Socials, for many years, at the level of both performance and teaching students Rabindrasangeet from Tagore’s dance dramas .During 2008—2009, I have performed Rabindrasangeet and Shyama Sangeet at various theatres like the open air theatre at Madhusudan Mancha, Gyan Mancha (Rotary), and Surya Sen Bhavan.
Post Graduate Supervision+
- M.Phil Examiner for Comparative Literature Mahasweta Devi and Sashi Deshpande , 2006
- M.Phil Examiner for English at Jadavpur in ’06, on Toni Morrison, 2006
CLAI (Comparative Literature Association of India): Life Membership
IACLALS (Indian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies) : Life Membership
1. Narrative and Gender Intersections: Selected Novels of Ashapurna Devi and Mahasweta Devi. Kolkata: Sutradhar. October 2016
2. Sister Nivedita. Translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Bhagini Nivedita. Kolkata: Sutradhar. February 2016.
3. Questions of Identity and Community: Women, Language and Literature within African and African American postcolonial contexts. Saarbrucken, Germany: Lap Lambert Academic Publishing, 2012.
Many Contexts of Indian Writing in English. Burdwan: Avenel Press, 2010.
Essays or Articles in books (international, national), journals and newspapers:
1. “Art as Politics and the Politics of Art: Movement Poets Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni.” Aspects of Modernity: American Women’s Poetry. Ed. Sukanya Dasgupta. Kolkata: Jadavpur University Press, 2014. 152—167.
2. “Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain: écrivaine, féministe et educatrice du debut du XXeme siècle au Bengale.” Rencontre avec l’Inde. Tome 43, Numero 2, 2014. 59—73.
3. “Story Telling in the Age of Cybernetics: Rana Dasgupta’sTokyo Cancelled”. Writing India Anew: Indian English Fiction 2000—2010. Eds. Krishna Sen and Rituparna Roy. Amsterdam University Press. 2013. 171—188.
4. “Partition as a Leitmotif in the short fiction of Sadat Hussain Manto” in Barbed Wire: Borders and Partitions in South Asia .Ed. Jayita Sengupta. Delhi: Routledge (India), 2012. 81-93.
5. “Myth as Historical Revisionism in Mahasweta Devi’s Draupadi and Stanadayini” Mahasweta Devi. Ed. Nandini Sen. Delhi: Pencraft International, 2011. 140—152.
6. “Feminist Theory/Writing Feminist.” Breaking the Silence. Eds. Sanjukta Dasgupta and Chinmoy Guha .Kolkata: Dasgupta and Company Private Limited, 2011. 86-113.
7. Review of Twelve Best Books by African Women: Critical Readings.
Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi and TuzylineJita Allan, eds. 2009. Contemporary Women’s Writing. Vol 4 No. 2, July 2010. Oxford: Oxford Journals, Oxford University Press. 156--158.
8. “The Aesthetic as Political and the Political as Aesthetic: The Art of Toni Morrison.” Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. No. VII. Kolkata: Scottish Church College, 2009. 118-127.
9. “Claiming Identity through Epistolarity and Feminism: MariamaBâ’s So Long a Letter.” JUES, Jadavpur University Essays and Studies, XXIII, Ed. Ananda Lal, Kolkata, 2009. 13--34.
10. “Orality as Aesthetic and Generational Strategy.” In Gender and Generation: Interdisciplinary Perspectives & Intersections. Eds. Katerina Kolarova and VeraSokolova. Prague: Litteraria Pragensia. 2007. 150-169.
11. “Naipaul’s India? Myth or Reality?”Sambalpur Studies in Literature and Culture. Department of English. Sambalpur University. Series 3, 2013. 27—41.
12. The Statesman: Perspective Page “Spiritual Symphony I & II” (on the RamakrishnaKathamrita). February 19-20, 2013
13. Hindustan Times. “The Classical Touch”. August 31. 2015.
14. “Spiritual Quest in dialogue with melody in Rabindranath Tagore’s songs”. Parts I & II. Bulletin of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. October and November, 2015.