Mrinalini Chakravorty

Mrinalini Chakravorty

Associate Professor, Interim Director of Graduate Studies

416 Bryan Hall

Office Hours: Fridays, 2-5 pm by appointment.
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Research Areas

Postcolonial Studies; History of the Novel; British and Anglophone Literatures; Queer Theory


Mrinalini Chakravorty received her PhD in English with a certificate in Critical Theory from the University of California, Irvine.  She specializes in postcolonial studies, history of the novel, and queer theory.  She is particularly interested in coloniality and discourses of Marxism and psychoanalysis. Her first book, In Stereotype: South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary (Columbia UP, 2014) explored the importance of cultural stereotypes in shaping the ethics and reach of global literature. The book argues that stereotypes about South Asia (depicted as riven by hunger, overpopulation, filth, slum, death, migrancy, terror and outsourced labor) are crucial to how the crises of liberal development in this region are relayed through fiction and understood beyond its borders.  Most recently she has co-edited Spivak Moving (forthcoming from Seagull Press, 2023), a collection of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s latest and most influential work on activism and humanities pedagogy.  She is now working on two books: The World Republic of Queer Letters details the dispersion of sexual self-fashioning in novels from the modernist period to the present to show how ‘world literature’ has overlooked sexuality as a site of a lively traffic of exchanges.  The Novel at the End of the World tells an unusual story about the contemporary novel’s compulsion for memento mori. The book shows how colonialist anxieties about worldly dominion and dissolution shape the modern novel’s unconscious.  Her essays have appeared in Representations; PMLA; differences; Modern Fiction Studies; ARIEL; Contemporary Literature; South Asian Review; Framework as well as in various edited collections.  She serves as Associate Editor of British and Anglophone fiction for the journal Contemporary Literature.  Before Charlottesville, she lived in Kolkata, Muscat, New Delhi, Boulder, Norwich, Irvine, Los Angeles, and Gambier.  She avidly reads poetry, which she also occasionally writes.


PhD    University of California, Irvine
MA      University of California, Irvine
BA       University of Colorado, Boulder, summa cum laude 


Spivak Moving (Seagull Press, forthcoming), coeditor.
The World Republic of Queer Letters (in progress).
The Novel at the End of the World (in progress).
Some Kind of Magic: Freddie Mercury as Postcolonial Performer (with Leila Neti, Occidental College; in progress)


“Anticolonialism’s ‘Homosexual Territory’"  in Representations, forthcoming Spring, 2023.
“The Shock of Relation: Queer Diasporas” in Diaspora and Literary Studies.  Angela Naimou, editor. Cambridge University Press,  forthcoming 2023.
“After the Subaltern” in Spivak Moving, Seagull Press, forthcoming 2023.
“A Vigil Wasted? Notes on the Ruin Sublime.” Contemporary Literature, vol. 60 no. 3, (2019), p. 370-401.
“No Future for South Asia: Tagore’s Universality and the Refusal of Geopolitics” in South Asian Review, March 2018, Spring Issue, Taylor & Francis (2018).
“Concerning Hunger: Empire Aesthetics in the Present Moment” in Systems of Life: Biopolitics, Economics, and Literature on the Cusp of Modernity. Richard Barney and Warren Montag, editors. Fordham University Press, 2018. 201-235.
"Transnational," long entry for The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz, editors, Wiley-Blackwell (February, 2016).
“Of Dystopias and Deliriums: The Millennial Novel in India” in The Cambridge History of the Indian Novel in English. Ulka Anjaria, editor. Cambridge University Press, June 2015.
“Never Kill A Man Who Says Nothing: Things Fall Apart and The Spoken Worlds of African Literature in English” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, 43. 4, October, 2013, University of Calgary Press.
“Brick Lane Blockades: Migrant Domesticity and the Cultural Politics of British Immigrant Identity” in Modern Fiction Studies, Issue 58.3, Johns Hopkins University Press, September 2012.
“Picturing The Postmaster: Tagore, Ray, and the Making of an Uncanny Modernity” in Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, vol. 53 no.1 Wayne State University, 2011.
"An Emergent Extra-Disciplinarity: Worlding Arabs, Activist Representation, and the Example of Ahdaf Soueif,” in Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice. Ranu Samantrai, Joe Parker, and Mary Romero, editors, State University of New York Press, April 2010.
“The Human Recycled: Insecurity in the Transnational Moment” with Leila Neti in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Special Issue (The Future of the Human), Nancy Armstrong and Warren Montag, editors, Duke University Press, 2009 20(2-3): 194-223.
“To Undo What the North has Done: Fragments of a Nation and Arab Collectivism in the Fiction of Ahdaf Soueif” in Exploring Identity: Readings in Contemporary Arab Women’s Autobiographical Writings. Nawar Al-Hassan Golley, editor, Syracuse University Press, October 2007.