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
(Fall 2014) 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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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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 Transnational Lit: New Economy - - W - - - - 1800 - 2100 JRC 481
CRN: 21831 3 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury ‪In a 2006 article, “The Location of Literature: The Transnational Book and the Migrant Writer,” Rebecca Wolkowitz suggests that “contemporary literature in the age of globalization is, in many ways, a COMPARATIVE literature: works circulate in many literary systems at once, and can—some would say, need [to]—be read within several national traditions” (my emphasis). In this course, we will consider the validity of this claim, examining a range of texts within the context of some of the vast changes that have taken place in the global economy in the last fifteen years. We will focus on just a few distinctive features of the present conjuncture: 1) the political economy of transnationalism—how the acceleration in transnational capital accumulation and the accompanying dispossession of the poor and rise in migrant and refugee populations (especially in/from the Global South) have been highlighted or displaced in the transnational text; 2) the emergence of a transnational citizen—how questions about citizenship have evolved at a time when national borders have become both more rigid and more fluid; 3) gender in a transnational world—how gender has been used to demarcate and negotiate political and economic conflicts; 4) and finally, the idea of transnational ethics—how the events of 9/11 and the subsequent “war on terror” have realigned our notions of human rights and “universal values.”‬ We will read Judith Butler’s PRECARIOUS LIFE: THE POWERS OF MOURNING AND VIOLENCE, Teju Cole’s novel OPEN CITY, Mohsin Hamid’s novel HOW TO GET FILTHY RICH IN RISING ASIA, Saba Mahmood’s POLITICS OF PIETY: THE ISLAMIC REVIVAL AND THE FEMINIST SUBJECT, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s novel DUST, Caryl Phillips’ novel A DISTANT SHORE, and Indra Sinha’s novel ANIMAL'S PEOPLE, among other texts.‬‬ This course satisfies the Multicultural Literature distribution requirement. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GENG 699 - 02 Master's Essay - - - - - - - -
CRN: 22893 3 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GENG 699 - 04 Master's Essay - - - - - - - -
CRN: 22895 3 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)