Assistant Professor and Head of the Department
My research interests include Literary and Cultural Studies with interdisciplinary specialisation in Psychoanalysis, Dalit Studies, Colonial Bengal, and Holocaust.
I wrote my M. Phil. dissertation on how the Lacanian notion of “sexual non-rapport” figures in the novels of the British postmodernist author John Fowles. Apart from lectures and invited talks, I have, as of 2019, presented my research findings on Jacques Lacan at three international conferences organized, respectively, by the University of London, UK; Ghent University, Belgium; and Birkbeck College, London. My paper “Eyes a man could drown in: Phallic Myth and Femininity in John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (2017) was published in Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory, issued by the Pennsylvania State University Press, USA. In January 2018, Orient BlackSwan published my book Jacques Lacan: From Clinic to Culture.
My Ph.D. thesis was on Vivekananda and the Other Question wherein, among other things, I engaged in a comparative critique of Hinduism from the persepctives of Babasaheb Ambedkar and Vivekananda. It was during my doctoral research that I exhaustively studied the works of Babasaheb, and his writings exerted a tremendous impact on me both as a person and as a scholar. My political choice, activism, and academic pursuits took an absolutely anti-caste turn since then. I have written and delivered several invited talks on Dalit issues. I am the founder of All About Ambedkar: A Journal on Theory and Praxis, the first-ever journal exclusively dedicated to exploring the works of Babasaheb Ambedkar and anti-caste politics.
Currently, I am working on three books - two under contract with Routledge and the third one with Navayana. The first one is a research monograph on John Fowles and psychoanalysis. The second one is a co-edited volume on Holocaust and Transnationalism which I studied, as an invited participant, in an International Summer School held in 2019 at the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp Memorial, Germany. And the third one is an autoethnographic study of the Poundras and is funded by Navayana Dalit History Fellowship which I won in 2021.
I was appointed as a research consultant for a project on anti-casteism at University College London, UK. This project was supported by UCL Global Engagements Fund for which I, along with three other international collaborators, submitted a proposal. The fund was awarded to us in 2021.
Major Academic Degrees
2019: PhD, Department of English, Jadavpur University, India
2012: MPhil, Department of English, Jadavpur University, India
2010: MA in English, Jadavpur University, India (Scored 69.75%, First Class)
2008: BA Honours in English, Jadavpur University, India (Scored 61.89%, First Class)
2005: Higher Secondary Examination (Arts), West Bengal Board (Scored 77.7%, First Division)
2003: Secondary Examination, West Bengal Board (Scored 82.63%, First Division)
Other Academic Qualifications
2019: Bergen-Belsen International Summer School (fully funded fifteen-day programme on Holocaust and transnational memory), Bergen-Belsen Memorial, Germany
2014: Certificate Course in French, School of Languages, Jadavpur University, India
2011: Certificate Course in Film Appreciation, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, India
Grants, Fundings, Scholarships, Fellowships
2021: Navayana Dalit History Fellowship (nDHF2021)
2021: Global Engagement Project Fund, University College London, UK
2012: Junior Research Fellowship (University Grants Commission, India)
2011: Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (University Grants Commission, India)
2009: Merit-cum-Means Scholarship, Government of West Bengal, India
Mahitosh was born into a Dalit family of farmers in a coastal village near the Sundarbans in the district of South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India. He studied till Class X in that village and then moved to the city of Kolkata for higher education. He started his teaching career at the age of 23. He will soon be completing ten years as a university professor and has recently been recruited as the Head of the Department. Dr. Mandal is the youngest and in all probability, the first Dalit HoD of English at Presidency, a 204-year old institution.
Research / Administrative Experience+
Teaching / Other Experience+
Post Graduate Supervision+
Dr. Mandal has so far supervised about 30 MA candidates to successful submission of MA dissertations, leading to MA (English) degrees at Presidency University.
He is currently supervising the following PhD students at Presidency University.
1. Uditi Chakraborty - Harold Pinter and Psychoanalysis
2. Indranil Mitra - Science Fiction and Psychoanalysis
3. Rajdeep Mondal - Dalit Literature
Chief Editor, All About Ambedkar: A Journal on Theory and Praxis
Member, Editorial Board, The Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities
Member, Editorial Board, Spring Magazine on English Literature
Member, Panel of Reviewers, Intersections: A Journal of Literary and Cultural Studies
Member, Advisory Board, Ambedkar Centre for Social and Cultural Studies, Gour Banga Mahavidyalaya, West Bengal
Member, Educatiors Alliance, UK (www.indiaandme.com)
2018: Jacques Lacan: from Clinic to Culture. Literary/Cultural Theory Series, edited by Sumit Chakrabarti, Orient Blackswan.
In Press. Holocaust and Popular Culture. Co-edited volume, Routledge.
Under Contract. An Autoethnographic Study of the Poundras. Research monograph, Navayana.
Under Contract. John Fowles and Psychoanalysis. Research monograph, Routledge.
Select Research Papers (in blind peer-reviewed journals)
2022 (forthcoming in June): "Lacan and the Limits of Understading." Lacunae: International Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis.
2019: (with Priyanka Das). "Rethinking Communism in the Age of Trump and Modi: The Bengali Film Ghya Chang Fou Sets Milestone in Cinematic History." Mise-en-scène: The Journal of Film & Visual Narration 4 (2): 78-81.
2017: "'Eyes a man could drown in': Phallic Myth and Femininity in John Fowles's The French Lieutenant’s Woman." Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory 19 (3): 274-298.
Select Book Chapter
2014: "A House for Taslima: Reflections on an 'Exilic' Intellectual." In The Diasporic Dilemma: Exile, Alienation And Belonging, eds. Pradipta Mukherjee and Sajal K. Bhattacharya, 118-133. New Delhi: Creative Books.
Select non-peer reviewed but frequently cited publications
Mandal, M. 2020. “Liars Masquerading as Communists: The Curious Case of CPIM in Bengal.” Round Table India: For an Informed Ambedkar Age, 17 May.
Mandal, M. 2020. "Why Vivekananda would have Opposed any Ramakrishna Mission Collaboration with the BJP." Scroll.in, 21 September.
Mandal, M. 2016. “Return to Ambedkar” (in Bengali). Round Table India: For an Informed Ambedkar Age, 19 April.
Mandal, M. 2016. “Aami Dalit.” Anandabazar Patrika, 24 January.
Mandal, M. 2016. “Casteism and Ways of Removing Casteism.” Round Table India: For an Informed Ambedkar Age, 13 January.
Mandal, M. “Dalits and the Dogs: An Autobiographical Note.” Round Table India: For an Informed Ambedkar Age, 14 December.
Mandal, M. 2015. “The Question of Reservation and the Future of the Dalit-Bahujanas in India.” Round Table India: For an Informed Ambedkar Age, 24 November.
Mandal, M. 2015. “How should a Brahmin-Savarna Respond to a Dalit Voice?” Round Table India: For an Informed Ambedkar Age, 3 October.
Mandal, M. 2015. “Are SCs, STs, and OBCs Less Talented?” Round Table India: For an Informed Ambedkar Age, 22 September.
Mandal, M. 2015. “Bhebechinte Porte Eso” ‘Prastuti’, Anandabazar Patrika, 14 April. (An interview in Bengali on English studies.)
Invited Talks and Conference Presentations (in descending chronological order)
30 October 2021: "Dalit Resistance in Times of Bengal Renaissance: Five Untouchable Thinker-Reformers from Colonial Bengal." Paper presented at the International Conference on Anti-Caste Thought: Theory, Politics and Culture hosted online by the University of Wolverhampton, UK.
28 October 2021: "A Manifesto of Anti-Caste Poetry? An Ambedkarite Reading of Meena Kandasamy's 'This Poem Will Provoke You.'" Invited lecture delivered online in the capacity of a resource person for the Refresher Course on Indian Writing in English: Caste, Class, and Gender at the Department of English, University of Mumbai, India.
2 July 2021: "Why Hamlet is a Tragedy of Desire." Invited talk hosted online by the Department of English, Malda College, West Bengal.
16 June 2021: "Was Joyce Psychotic?" Invited talk hosted by the Department of English Language and Literature, Adamas University, Kolkata.
11 June 2021: "Remarks on Casteism as an Obstacle to Class Consciousness." Invited talk hosted online by Rational Thinkers, Sodepur, West Bengal.
23 May 2021: “Ten Features of Dalit Literature.” Invited talk hosted online by Ghumusur Sahitya Sansad, Ghumusur, Odisha.
30 March 2021: "Dalit Literature vis-a-vis Persistence of Caste." Special invited lecture hosted online by the Departent of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
23 February 2021: “Importance of Lacan’s ‘The Family Complexes.’” Invited talk hosted online by the Department of English, Midnapore College (Autonomous), West Bengal.
17 January 2021: “Obstacles in the Path of Dalit Liberation.” Invited bilingual talk hosted by Independents’ Consolidation, Presidency University, Kolkata.
15 December 2020: “Was Marx Wrong?: Rethinking Marxism and Persistence of Caste in India.” Invited talk hosted online by PG Department of English, S N College, Chempazhathy, Kerala.
7 November 2020: “Image of the Dalit Intellectual in Bengali Academia.” Invited talk hosted online by The Shared Mirror Publishing House, Hyderabad.
28 September 2020: “Theorizing Regressive Progressivism: Caste and Modernity in Bhimayana and Beyond.” Invited talk hosted online by the Department of English, Krishnagar Government College, West Bengal.
29 November 2019: “Žižek Contra Miller: Remarks on the Hermeneutic Challenges of Lacanian Psychoanalysis.” Invited talk hosted as part of the General Seminar at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, West Bengal.
17 August 2019: “Hijra as an Uncanny Other: A Psychosocial Reading of Transgender Autobiographies from India.” Paper presented at the International Conference on The Uncanny in Language, Literature, and Culture, held at Birkbeck, University of London, UK.
9 August 2019: " 'Holocaste?' Holocaust and the Caste Question." Presented as part of the panel on "Actors of Transnational Memory" at Bergen-Belsen International Summer School 2019 orgainzed by Gedenkstätte Bergen-Belsen, Lohheide, Germany.
26 April 2019: “Baburao Bagul and Dalit Feminism.” Lectures delivered at the Department of English, Jadavpur University.
9 February 2019: “Language as a Means of Communication.” Invited talk hosted by Biswasray College, Orissa.
3 January 2019: “Psychoanalysis and the Question of Language: Revisiting Jacques Lacan’s ‘Rome Discourse.’” Invited talk delivered as a resource person at Winter School, Department of English, University of Calcutta, West Bengal.
28 September 2018: “Academic Pedagogy vs. Clinical Praxis: A Critique of the Concept of ‘Teaching’ in Lacan.” Paper presented at the 2018 Lacan Écrits Conference, held at Ghent University, Belgium.
26 April 2016: “The Poetry of R. Parthasarathy.” Invited lecture delivered at the Department of English, Jadavpur University.
29 February 2016: “Aspects of Modernism.” Invited talk hosted by the Department of English, Haringhata Mahavidyalay, West Bengal.
2 February 2016: “Casteism in Higher Educational Institutes and Universities.” Invited talk hosted by Research Scholars’ Forum, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.
28 November 2014: “Eyes a man could drown in’: Disguise and Falsehood in Fowles.” Paper presented at the Marginalised Mainstream: Disguise Conference, held at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London, UK.
6 December 2013: “Reading Vivekananda, Reading Postmodernism: Some Problems and Possibilities.” Paper presented at the State-level Seminar on The Relevance of Swami Vivekananda in the Postmodern World, held at Vidyanagar College, West Bengal.
24 September 2012: “Digital Humanities and Man.” Paper presented at the International Conference on Digital Humanities in India, held at Presidency University, Kolkata.
27 March 2012: “Engaging the ‘Criminal Other’ in Habib Tanvir’s Plays.” Paper presented at the National Seminar on Contemporary Trends in Indian Drama: Theory, Practice, Criticism, held at Rishi Bankim Chandra College, West Bengal.
24 February 2012: “‘The World as a Single Nest’: The Postcolonial, the European Critical Dialectic, and Beyond.” Paper presented at DRS CU National Seminar on The Post Postcolonial: Theory and Text, held at the University of Calcutta, West Bengal.
19 January 2012: “Sri Ramakrishna and the Concept of Truth.” Paper presented at the International Conference on Sri Ramakrishna’s Ideas and Our Times, organized by Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira, Belur Math, West Bengal.
10 January 2012: “Filmic Gestures in the Novels of John Fowles.” Paper presented at the National Conference on Revisiting Genre: Text, Discourse, and Performance held at Krishnagar Govt. College, West Bengal.
28 December 2011: “Politics, Aesthetics and Intertextuality.” Paper presented at the National Seminar on Intertextual Adaptation and Literary Discourses, held at the University of Burdwan, West Bengal.
24 March 2011: “Flame Ignites Flame: Revolution in Rabindranath and Llosa.” Paper presented at the National Seminar on Indian and Latin American Modernities: Self, Exile, Revolution, held at the Department of English, Jadavpur University.
11 March 2011: “Indian Culture through John Master’s Eyes.” Paper presented at the National Seminar on Indian Culture through British Eyes, held at N. S. Patel Arts College, Gujarat.
5 March 2011: “Still Full of Colours: Barak Surama Folk Culture.” Paper presented at the Tenth Biennial International Conference of Comparative Literature Association of India, held at Central University of Gujarat.
18 February 2011: “‘Here we are down in a hole’: Exploration of the ‘Other Spaces’ in Samuel Beckett.” Paper presented at the National Conference on Heterotopologies: Re-defining Space and Cultural Imaginaries, at the University of Burdwan, West Bengal.
16 November 2010: “Outline of Greek Tragedy.” Invited talk hosted by the Department of History, Ramakrishna Mission Residential College (Autonomous), Narendrapur.
10 August 2010: “Aspects of Structuralism.” Invited talk hosted by the Department of English, Ramakrishna Mission Residential College (Autonomous), Narendrapur.
16 March 2010: “Doing Things with Narratives: The Performative in The Thousand and One Nights.” Paper presented at All India Students’ Seminar on Performance, Text, Event, organized by the Department of English, Jadavpur University.
10 February 2010: “Desire and Language in Blake’s Poetry.” Paper presented at the Annual International Conference for Studies in Romantic Literature (CSRL) held at H. L. Roy Building, Jadavpur University.
26 March 2009: “Comedy and Magic: Oberon’s Magic Flower and Prospero’s Magic Wand.” Paper presented at the First Annual Department of English Students’ Seminar in memory of Professor Debabrata Mukherjee on the theme of Comic Imagination in Drama organized by the Department of English, Jadavpur University.
86/1 College Street, Kolkata - 700073,
West Bengal, India
Email: mahitosh.eng at presiuniv.ac.in
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