Kanishka Chowdhury portrait

Kanishka Chowdhury

Professor of English / Director of American Culture & Difference Minor
Office
JRC 342
Hours
(Fall 2018) By appointment
Phone
(651) 962-5646
Toll Free
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-5646
Mail
JRC 333

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 in cultural studies, immigrant literatures, global film, transnational literatures, and writing and resistance. I’ve also written on many of these topics, as well as on contemporary postcolonial cultures and their connections to 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.

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

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

Book

The New India: Citizenship, Subjectivity and Economic Liberalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.


Selected Articles, Review Essays, and Reviews

“Globalization and the South Asian Novel.” Oxford History of the Novel in English, Volume 10. Oxford University Press. Forthcoming

“Postcoloniality and the Problem of the ‘Non-Capitalist Environment.” New Formations 86 (Summer 2016). Forthcoming.

“Imperialism.” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Literature. Eds. Henry Schwartz and Sangeeta Ray. New York: Wiley Blackwell, 2015.

Review of On Anger: Race, Cognition, Narrative. MELUS 40.1 (Spring 2015): 206–208.

Review of Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital by Vivek Chibber. Science and Society. 78.4 (October 2014): 645–647.

“The American Dispossessed: Outsiders in Ferguson.” Counterpunch. August 21, 2014.

“Paths to Revolution.” With Barbara Foley. Mediations 27.1–2: (Fall/Spring 2013–2014): 411–418.

“Malala Yousefzai and the Modern Subject.” Counterpunch. October 11–13, 2013.

"Deflecting Crisis: Critiquing Capitalism’s Emancipation Narrative.” Works and Days. Special Issue on Culture and Crisis. 30.59/60 (2012): 349–360.

"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 Freeindiamedia.com.

"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.


Recent Conference Presentations, 2013-2017

“Surplus Population and the Value of Money in Patnaik’s A Theory of Imperialism.” Institute of Theory and Culture.” UC, Davis, June, 2017.

Chair and Speaker, “What’s Going On: Imperialism in the 21st Century.” Left Forum, New York City, June 2017.

Invited Speaker, “Rosa Luxemburg Reads the Present Crisis,” Concordia University, Montreal, June 27, 2016.

“Imperialism and the Racial Other” John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, May 21, ,2016.

“Racism, Exploitation, and the Credit Mechanism of Contemporary Capitalism.” Conference on Capital: The Basement Tapes. Georgetown University, June 25, 2015.

“Naturalizing Transnational Exploitation.” Left Forum. John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, May 30, 2015. 

“Transformative Justice and the Transactional Moment.” Left Forum. City University of New York, May 31, 2014.

“Rights Talk and the Accumulation of Wealth.” 15th Triennial Conference of EACLALS. University of Innsbruck, April 17, 2014.

Chair, “Narratives of Enrichment.” 15th Triennial Conference of EACLALS. University of Innsbruck, April 17, 2014.

“Justice, Dialectics, and the Discourse of Rights.” Ohio State University. June 24, 2013.

 

Fall 2018 Courses

Fall 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ACST 200 - L01 Intro to Amer. Culture & Diff. M - W - - - - 1335 - 1510 JRC 126

Days of Week:

M - W - - - -

Time of Day:

1335 - 1510

Location:

JRC 126

Course Registration Number:

42458 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

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)
ENGL 110 - PW4 Intensive Writing - T - R - - - 1330 - 1510 JRC 301

Days of Week:

- T - R - - -

Time of Day:

1330 - 1510

Location:

JRC 301

Course Registration Number:

42455 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

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)

J-Term 2019 Courses

J-Term 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Spring 2019 Courses

Spring 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ACST 200 - L01 Intro to Amer. Culture & Diff. - T - R - - - 1330 - 1510 JRC 126

Days of Week:

- T - R - - -

Time of Day:

1330 - 1510

Location:

JRC 126

Course Registration Number:

20003 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

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 660 - 01 Transnat Text Age Neoliberalis - - W - - - - 1800 - 2100 JRC 481

Days of Week:

- - W - - - -

Time of Day:

1800 - 2100

Location:

JRC 481

Course Registration Number:

21952 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

3 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Kanishka Chowdhury

In a recent piece, "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 severe national traditions" (my emphasis). In this course, we will examine the premise 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 twenty years. We will focus on just a few distinctive feature of the present conjuncture: 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; 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; gender in a transnational world--how gender has been used to demarcate and negotiate political and economic conflicts; 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. The texts we will read do not merely serve as "vessels" for economic or social positions, nor are they simply allied or resistant to dominant neoliberal paradigms; instead, like most texts, they yield contradictory "meanings," and we will consider ways in which these texts succeed or fail within the conditions of their own production. The course will explore a range of voices, including Arvind Adiga, Anthony Appiah, Giovanni Arrighi, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, Rey Chow, Teju Cole, Amma Darko, David Harvey, Eduardo Galeano, Muhammed Hanif, Caren Kaplan, Arundhati Roy, Amartya Sen, Gayatri Spivak, and Slavoj Zizek. Each student will write blog entries, a mid-term paper, and a final essay, and s/he will also be responsible for an extended presentation. A list of books and films will be available at the end of the fall semester. This course satisfies the Multicultural Literature distribution requirement and counts as one 600-level course. This course also satisfies the Literature in a Global, Transatlantic, or Transnational Perspective for new curriculum. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)