Kanishka Chowdhury  portrait

Kanishka Chowdhury

Professor of English / Director of American Culture & Difference Minor
Degree
M.A., Ph.D., Purdue University
B.A., St. Xavier's College, Calcutta (India)
At St. Thomas since 1993
Office
JRC 342
Hours
(Spring 2017) W 5:30-6:00pm; also by appointment
Phone
(651) 962-5646

I’m interested in the ways that culture, politics, ethics, and aesthetics intersect, so in all of my classes we analyze texts as part of complex social formations and in specific historical contexts. Recently, I’ve taught courses on cultural studies, immigrant literatures, Marxist theory, transnational literatures, and writing and resistance. I’ve also written on many of these topics, as well as on contemporary India—the connections between its emerging forms of citizenship and neoliberal economic changes. Lately I have been researching transnational human rights discourse, trying to understand more clearly how that discourse names, locates, and categorizes subjects who are positioned as victims of injustice.

Spring 2017 Courses

Spring 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ACST 200 - L01 Intro to Amer. Culture & Diff. - T - R - - - 1330 - 1510 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 Lit in the Age of Human Rights - - W - - - - 1800 - 2100 JRC 481
CRN: 21868 3 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury In The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, Samuel Moyn argues that the discourse of human rights since the 1970s is a specific practice of naming forms of injustice, violence, and servitude. Over the last few decades, the discourse of human rights has arguably become the primary way to categorize conflicts and acts of injustice, often dividing the world into “savages,” saviors, and the saved. In this course, we will examine the language of rights, paying special attention to the ways in which this language has become even more fraught with contradictory expressions since 9/11 and the inauguration of the endless War against Terror. Although we will begin our study with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights document of 1948 and reflect on famous “rights” texts such as Marx’s The Jewish Question and Hannah Arendt’s “The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man,” our focus will be on a set of post-9/11 cultural texts, exploring the ways in which these texts play a significant role in negotiating the language of rights, often perpetuating, challenging, or recasting existing ways of understanding acts of injustice. We will read works by a range of writers, including Judith Butler, Edwidge Danticat, Óscar Martínez, Shailja Patel, Indra Sinha, as well as cultural texts such as Sebastião Salgado’s photographs of migrant workers, recent documentary films on the Syrian refugee crisis, and NGO publicity materials related to “building gender literacy and equality” in the Global South. This course satisfies the multicultural distribution requirement and counts as a 600-level seminar. Prerequisite: ENGL 513 or permission of the instructor.

Schedule Details

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Summer 2017 Courses

Summer 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Fall 2017 Courses

Fall 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 203 - A01 Thematic/Intertextual Perspect - - - - - - - -
CRN: 42205 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury With its focus on thematic and intertextual perspectives, the readings in this course might be ordered any number of ways: according to theme, an idea that develops across genres or literary periods, or by their incorporation of specific oral or textual precedents (e.g. mythology, the Bible, classical writings, legends, or folklore). The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)