My areas of specialization are the history of ideas, Indian Ocean Studies, postcolonial theory and literatures, cultural studies, and continental philosophy. 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 to the MLA First Book Prize as well as the ICAS Book Prize in 2013, and reviews of the book have appeared in eminent journals in the field.
My second collection, an edited volume of articles published in Postcolonial Text in December 2019, is a two-set Special Issue titled "Maritime Transmodernities: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Indian Ocean World." The collection features five original essays on Amitav Ghosh's Ibis Trilogy; on the Java Government Gazette, a 19th century gazette run by the Dutch East India Company between 1812 and 1816; on Zanzibar-born UK writer Abdulrazak Gurnah; on the French writer Nathacha Appanah; and on a neglected 1673 play by John Dryden, Amboina, based on the infamous Amboyna massacre in the 17th century. The issue also features two interviews: one, with leading scholar in the field of Indian Ocean Studies, Isabel Hofmeyr, two, with writer-academic Abdulrazak Gurnah, along with two short stories set in the Indian Ocean.
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. A second edited collection of articles on Indian Ocean Literatures was published in Postcolonial Text in 2019.
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. For three years now, I also lead The Transmodernity Circle which is a group of scholars (current and past) who meet at Presidency once a month to read intensively and discuss theory and philosophy in tune with literary texts: in 2018, we read the work of Enrique Dussel, Latin America's leading philosopher and theoretician; in 2019, it was Rene Girard; and in 2020, it will be Mari Ruti.
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).
My edited collection of articles in the field of Indian Ocean Studies was published in Postcolonial Text as a two-set Special Issue, titled "Maritime Transmodernities: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Indian Ocean World" in 2019. It asks the question: "[W]hat is it about the ocean that makes it as an analytical category or critical paradigm distinct from land?" Postcolonial Text is an academic, double blind peer reviewed, open access journal, a venue that I chose with design for being open source and accessible freely to scholars across the world. The edited collection examines the Indian Ocean World and its literatures as providing an important archive of interconnected knowledge and world-views. The collection shows that the Indian Ocean World challenges the many givens of Postcolonial Studies, moving the unit of analysis from terrestrial to oceanic spaces, from the nation-state as an organizing category to the littoral.
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)
“Maritime Transmodernities: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Indian Ocean World,” Special Double Issue, Postcolonial Text. Vol. 14. Iss. 3 and 4., 2019.
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.
“Maritime Transmodernities and the Ibis Trilogy.” Postcolonial Text. Special Double Issue: Maritime Transmodernities: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Indian Ocean World. Vol. 14.3. 2019.
“The Contours of the Field: Literatures of the Indian Ocean.” Postcolonial Text. 14.3 Special Double Issue. Maritime Transmodernities: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Indian Ocean World. Vols. 14.3 and 4. 2019.
“The Paradoxes of Realism: Martin Wickramasinghe and The Jatakas in Sinhala Literature,” Université Paris and University of Rouen-Le Havre Press. 2017. [URL: http://publis-shs.univ-rouen.fr/eriac/index.php?id=211#texte]
“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.
“‘Amphibious Histories’: An Interview with Isabel Hofmeyr.” Postcolonial Text. Special Double Issue. Maritime Transmodernities: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Indian Ocean World. Vol. 14.3 and 4. 2019.
“‘Arriving at writing’: A Conversation with Abdulrazak Gurnah.” With Sreya M. Datta. Postcolonial Text. Special Double Issue. Maritime Transmodernities: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Indian Ocean World. Vol. 14.3 and 4. 2019.
"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.
- Dean of Students Corner
- Career Counselling
- International Students
- PhD Students
- Grievance Redressal Cell
- Internal Committee for the Students with Disabilities
- Equal Opportunity Cell
- Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)
- Gender Sensitization and Prevention of Sexual Harassment Cell(GSPSHC)