Chowdhury, Kanishka portrait

Chowdhury, Kanishka

Professor of English / Director of American Culture & Difference Minor (on sabbatical in 2013-14)
(651) 962-5646
JRC 333

Academic History
M.A., Ph.D., Purdue University
B.A., St. Xavier's College, Calcutta (India)
At St. Thomas since 1993 

Postcolonial Literature and Theory
Twentieth-century Cultural Theory
Contemporary South Asian Culture and Politics
Theories of Globalization

Selected Publications
"The Limits of Liberatory Pedagogy: Reevaluating Postmodern Resistance and Border Pedagogy." Postcolonialism and Education, ed. Derek Mulenga, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2007.

"Interrogating the New: Globalization, Endless War, and Postcolonial Theory." Cultural Critique. 62 (Spring 2006): 126-62.

"Transnational Transgression: Reading Mira Nair's Kama Sutra and Deepa Mehta's Fire in a Global Economy," South Asian Review 24.1 (Summer 2003): 180-201.

"It's All Within Your Reach: Nationalisms in the Age of the Global Economy," Cultural Logic, November 2002. Reprinted in

"Postcolonial Longings." Modern Fiction Studies. 46.2 (Summer 2000): 496-500.

"Afrocentric Voices: Constructing Identities, (Dis)placing Difference." Race-ing Representation: Voice, History, and Sexuality, eds., Kostas and Linda Myrsiades. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998: 21-54.

"Theoretical Confrontations in the Study of Postcolonial Literatures." Post-Colonial Literatures in English: General, Theoretical and Comparative 1970-1993, eds. Alan Lawson et al. New York: G.K. Hall, 1997: 78-84.

"Revisioning History: Shashi Tharoor's The Great Indian Novel."  World Literature Today.  Special Issue on Postmodernism/Postcolonialism. Winter 1995: 41-48.

Selected Presentations
"Anti-Systemic Nationalisms." Institute on Culture and Society, Washington, D.C., Georgetown University, June 2006.

"New Imperialism: Globalization and Capitalist Accumulation." Modern Language Association, Washington, D.C., December 2005.

"Who Will Build My Taj Mahal: Urban Displacement and Liberalization in Calcutta." Center for South Asian Studies, UW, Madison, October, 2005.

"Imperialism, Race, and the Politics of Oil." Left Forum. CUNY, New York, April 2005.

"Postcolonial Theory and Globalization," Invited Talk, University of Glasgow, February 2004.

"Cultural Theory and Globalization in the Age of Endless War," Conference on "Marxism and the World Stage," University of Massachusetts, Amherst, November, 2003.

"Postcolonial Theory in the Age of Uneven Development," University of California, Davis, Summer 2003.

"Interstitial Anxiety: Translating Class, Altering Hospitality," Conference on "Translating Class, Altering Hospitality," University of Leeds, United Kingdom, June 2002.

"Djibril Diop Mambety's Hyenas: Storytelling in the Age of the World Bank," Institute on Culture and Society, Chicago, June 2001.

"Transformative Politics and Revolutionary Crisis in C.L.R. James' The Black Jacobins."  Conference on "Defining Colonies." National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, June 17, 1999.

Fall 2014 Courses

Fall 2014 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 110 - P4 Intensive Writing - T - R - - - 1330 - 1510 JRC 227
CRN: 40963 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury The course provides students with intensive practice in writing, enabling them to adapt to the demands of differing rhetorical contexts. Emphasis on understanding writing processes and learning to respond thoughtfully to writing at various stages. Critical reading will be practiced as an integral part of the writing process. Prerequisite: participation in the Academic Development Program

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 337 - 01 Transnational Human Rights/Lit - T - R - - - 1525 - 1700 JRC 222
CRN: 42369 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury Since September 11, 2001, "human rights" as an area of activism, knowledge, and practice has been foregrounded by terror, torture, preemptive wars, the large movement of dispossessed migrant and refugee populations, and increasing wealth inequality. In this course, we will discuss the proliferation of rights "discourse" during this period, concentrating on several interrelated topics: economic rights, refugee and immigrant rights, gender rights, and environmental and land rights. As we discuss the political, social, and economic ramifications of transnational ideas of rights, we will explore a variety of cultural texts (primarily film and literature) that construct, disrupt, and negotiate the language/discourse of rights. Although "human rights" as an area of activism, knowledge, and practice has a long history, in this class we will be using the United Nations Declaration of 1948 as a key intellectual and political reference point for our discussions, reading it critically as we analyze texts from cultures across the globe. Micheline Ishay's volume THE HUMAN RIGHTS READER will be our main text, and we will also read writers such as Mourid Barghouti, Aminatta Forna, Indra Sinha, Arundhati Roy, and Vandana Shiva. This course satisfies the Human Diversity core requirement and the Diversity distribution requirement for English majors. Prerequisite: ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

J-Term 2015 Courses

J-Term 2015 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Spring 2015 Courses

Spring 2015 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ACST 200 - 01 Intro to Amer. Culture & Diff. - T - R - - - 1525 - 1700 JRC 126
CRN: 20003 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury In ACST 200, students learn about the historical and theoretical foundations of Cultural Studies as an academic discipline and use cultural theory to analyze a variety of cultural products and representations. In this course, students look specifically at dominant and subversive constructions of gender, race, ethnicity, national and sexual identities, and how these constructions are deployed through cultural practices and productions such as sports, film and television, folklore and popular culture, youth subcultures, music, and so on. For example, the course may contain units on "nation" and the creation of American mythologies; the process of hero-making in American history; stereotypes and the representation of race and ethnicity in television and film; representations of gender and sexuality in advertising; as well as a section on American music from jazz, blues, folk and roots music, to rock and roll, punk, and hip-hop. This course fulfills the Human Diversity requirement in the core curriculum.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GENG 658 - 01 Postcolonial Lit: New Economy - - W - - - - 1800 - 2100 JRC 481
CRN: 21831 3 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury Potential topics may include Third World cinema, writing and resistance in the global age, and Mexican-American literature. Potential authors may include Ama Ata Aidoo, Assia Djebar, Frantz Fanon, C.L.R. James, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, or Ngugi wa Thinong'o. Credit may be earned more than once under this number for different emphases. This course satisfies the Multicultural Literature distribution requirement. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Take the Next Step