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 2016) 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 2016 Courses

Fall 2016 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 110 - PW3 Intensive Writing - T - R - - - 1330 - 1510 JRC 227
CRN: 40098 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 217 - L01 Cntmp. US Immigrant Narratives - T - R - - - 1525 - 1700 JRC 222
CRN: 40402 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Kanishka Chowdhury It is common, especially during the election season, to hear politicians proclaim “truths” and “facts” about immigrants’ lives, even though most of them have little experience of the complex realities of those lives. There is, for instance, no such thing as a homogenous immigrant experience. An immigrant’s life in this country is determined by multiple factors, such as race, class, gender, sexuality, national origin, and religion. In this course, we will study a range of post-9/11 immigrant narratives, focusing on the multiple ways in which immigrants have negotiated questions related to citizenship, state persecution, segregated labor practices, historical memory, and intergenerational conflicts over the last fifteen years. We will read works by writers such as Teju Cole, Edwidge Danticatt, Mohsin Hamid, Cristina Henríquez, Jhumpa Lahiri, Óscar Martínez, and Dinaw Mengestu. We will also read a range of theoretical and historical works that will help us understand the social, political, and economic factors that determine the realities of these myriad lives. Students will be responsible for a comprehensive presentation and will write blogs, short papers, and a research paper. This course satisfies the core Human Diversity requirement and the Diversity Literature distribution requirement for English majors. Prerequisite: ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204.

Schedule Details

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J-Term 2017 Courses

J-Term 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Spring 2017 Courses

Spring 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ACST 200 - 01 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

Location Time Day(s)