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Dipsikha Thakur


Ph.D., University of Virginia, English Literature and Language (expected December 2020)
Dissertation: “Ghostly Encounters: Transnational Gothic and the Contemporary Novel”
Committee: Stephen Arata, Mrinalini Chakravorty and Mary Kuhn
MA., University of Virginia, English Literature and Language (May 2018)
BA., University of Cambridge, English Literature and Classics (June 2015)


“Ghostly Encounters: Transnational Gothic and the Twenty-first Century Novel” examines the resurgence of the gothic mode in the contemporary global anglophone novel. I argue that the transnational gothic adapts the tropes, motifs and conventions of 18th and 19th century gothic literature to explore the fears and anxieties surrounding the reality of border-crossings, migration and transnational identity-formations. The chapters investigate this intersection of the contemporary anglophone novel and the Gothic by analysing White is For Witching, Shalimar the Clown and The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, while the coda explores the idea of the gothic as an uncanny reading practice in transnational literature.

Honours and Awards

  • Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures Asian Cosmopolitanisms Lab Curriculum Development Grant (2020)
  • Wallerstein Scholarship for Research Internship at the Weldon Cooper Centre for Public Service (2019)
  • UVA Department of English Summer Grant for Conference Presentation (2019)
  • Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures Public Humanities Lab Research Grant (2019)
  • Jefferson Scholars Foundation Research Prize (2019)
  • Shortlisted for the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Fellowship (2019)
  • Funding from the UVA Dept of English and Nomination for Harvard University IWL (2019)
  • UVA Dept of English Summer Grant for Visiting Research at University of Sheffield (2017)
  • Jardine-Matheson Cambridge Undergraduate Scholarship (2011-2015)
  • Annual Essay Prize at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge (2013)


Peer-Reviewed Journals
 “‘Seeing ghosts’: Gothic contiguities in the plays of Henrik Ibsen”. Orbis Litterarum. March 2018, pp 449-457.
Open-Access Journals
 "The Poetics of Witnessing in the Works of Seamus Heaney." Inquiries Journal. Vol 10. 03 (2018).

Research Experience

  • Summer Research Assistant for Professor Mrinalini Chakravorty. June-July 2020.
  • Research Assistant for Professor Debjani Ganguly at Institute of the Humanities and Global Culture at University of Virginia – August 2016-May 2017
  • Visiting Researcher at The University of Sheffield. Supervisor: Dr Andrew Smith. May-August 2017.

Teaching Experience

Instructor of Record:
ENWR 1510: “Writing and Critical Enquiry: Working with Adaptations”. Fall 2017. 
(One section; 18 students)
ENWR 1510: “Writing Self, Writing Gender: Working with Virginia Woolf”. Spring 2018.
(One section; 18 students)
Teaching Assistantship (2019 Spring)
ENGL 3820: “Histories of Literatures in English II, 1800-2000” for Professor Victoria Olwell and Professor John O’Brien. (Four sections; 52 students).

Academic Seminars, Institutes and Summer Schools

  • Participant in “Close Reading and World Literature” Harvard Institute of World Literature (July 2019).
  • Participant in “How Do Literary Works Cross Borders?” Harvard Institute of World Literature (July 2019).
  • Participant and presenter in Colloquium 9: Production and Circulation of World Literature, Harvard Institute of World Literature (July 2019). Presentation: “The Gothic of Circulation in Han Kang’s The Vegetarian”.
  • Participant in the Oxford Digital Humanities Summer School (July 2020).

Conference Activity

Chair of the Panel “Gothic Reading(s) and Readers” at the International Gothic Association Annual Conference: Gothic Terror/Gothic Horror. July-August 2019.
Chair of the Panel: “Persistent Crises: Responses to Border Imperialism in Global Anglophone Literature”. MLA 2021 Conference. January 2021, Toronto. 


  • “‘We Call Ourselves the East’: Orientalism and Self-Making in Suheir Hammad’s Poetry.” University of Virginia Graduate Conference. April 2017.
  • “Transformation as Threat: David Lurie, Mrs Curren and the Trouble of Growing Up While Growing Old in J.M. Coetzee's Novels”. University of Florida English Graduate Organization Annual Conference. October 2017.
  •  “‘To Set the Watch’: Border-crossing and Gothic Time in Helen Oyeyemi’s White is For Witching (2009)”. International Gothic Association Annual Conference. Lewis University, Romeoville. July-August 2019.
  •  “[A] ghost, silently standing its ground”: Subalternity in Han Kang's The Vegetarian (2008)". North-Eastern Modern Language Association Annual Conference. Boston. March 2020.
  • “Harry Potter and the Problematic Author: What Does It Mean to Ethically Read J.K. Rowling in 2020?”. Roundtable. NeMLA. Boston. March 2020.
““These unknown ghosts of boys”:  Border Imperialism as a Technology of Gender in The Collaborator (2011).” Modern Language Association Conference. January 2021. Toronto.

Academic Service

  • UVA Department of English Fredson Bowers Library Committee Chair (2019-2020)
  • Makerspace Technologist at the University of Virginia Scholars’ Lab (2019-2020)
  • IHGC Public Humanities Lab Member and Administrative Volunteer (2019-2020

Public Presentations and Talks

Talk titled “Civility: History, Discontents and Praxis” at the UVA Weldon Cooper Centre. October 2019.

Related Experiences

  • Research Internship at the Weldon Cooper Centre for Public Service at University of Virginia (May-July 2019)
  • Media and Management Internship at the Weldon Cooper Centre for Public Service, UVA (September-December 2019)
  • Journalist at Outlook India (2015-2016)
  • Research Intern at Zubaan Delhi (India’s only feminist publishing house) (August-September 2015)