Mrinalini Chakravorty

Mrinalini Chakravorty

Associate Professor, Director of Modern and Global Studies

416 Bryan Hall

Office Hours: THURS 2:00-4:00 PM EST & by appointment VIA ZOOM Meeting ID: 356 239 649 Passcode: xanadu
Class Schedule: TR 9:30-10:45, 12:30-1:45
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  • Ph.D. University of California, Irvine, 2005
  • M.A. University of California, Irvine, 1998
  • B.A. (summa cum laude) University of Colorado, Boulder, 1995
My research and teaching interests include postcolonial literature and film, studies of race, gender, and sexuality, and cultural studies.  I am particularly interested in the various theoretical intersections between these areas including but not limited to transnational approaches to the study of literary culture, aesthetic responses to globalization, and modes of minority discourse. 

Research Areas:

Postcolonial & Anglophone Literatures; Transnational & Global Studies; Cultural Studies; Novel; 20th Century British and World Literatures; Queer Theory


This monograph analyzes a set of commonplaces about hunger, crowdedness, filth, slums, death, migrant flight, out-sourcing and terror that proliferate globally in contemporary Anglophone novels about the Indian subcontinent. The book theorizes the allure of cultural stereotypes for transnational readers, while also complicating our understanding of the use and peculiar persistence of predictable representations of South Asia.
The Cultural Politics of Hunger (in progress)
This book situates new global fictions at the crossroads for discerning the imaginative and material charge hunger holds for how we perceive human differences, racial, cultural, gendered, and biopolitical. In it I argue that a slippery aesthetics of hunger, vacillating between desire and need, provokes urgent reflections on global culture and consumption.
Some Kind of Magic: Freddie Mercury as Postcolonial Performer (with Leila Neti, Occidental College; in progress)
Situated at the nexus of postcolonial, queer, media, and cultural studies, this critical biography examines the life and work of rock music icon Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the British glam band Queen, in the social contexts of British colonialism and Thatcherite Britain.


Book Reviews

Selected Lectures and Presentations

  • “Literary Anthropology, Minor Literature, and the Sensuous Magic of Language” for seminar on “Vernaculars, Memory, Globalization” Gautam Basu Thakur and Rini Bhattacharya Mehta, organizers. American Comparative Literature Association. March 26-29, 2015, Seattle. Invited.
  • “Surfaces and Thickness: Literary Anthropology and Minor Literature” for Special Session "Beyond Monolingualism?" Avishek Ganguly, Converner. Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Vancouver, Canada, January 8-11, 2015. Invited.
  • “The Famished Body, the Body Feminine and the Colonial Scene” at the National Women's Studies Association Conference, “Feminist Transgressions.” Panel On: “Gender and Visual Culture in India,”Deepti Misri, Convener. November 13-16, 2014, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • "Transnational Dystopias: Contemporary South Asian Novels of Affliction" for “Futures Imperfect: Interdisciplinary Colloquia,” Ulka Anjaria and Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria, Organizers, Brandeis University, Boston, March 7-8, 2014. Invited.
  • “Distances and Surfaces: The Allure and Circulation of Global Novels“ for Seminar on “Globalism and Literary Capital,” Seminar Organizer along with Leila Neti, American Comparative Literature Association Annual Convention, NYU, New York, March 21-23, 2014
  • “The Art of Hunger: Famine Portraiture and Humanitarian Aesthetics.” Lecture for the Department of English, Princeton University, November, 2013.  Invited.
  • “Insomnia: Reading Time in the Global Novel,” for seminar entitled “Positioning the Global Contemporary” (Andrew Hoberek, University of Missouri, and Matthew Hart, Columbia University; Chairs). American Comparative Literature Association, Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, April, 2013.
  • “An Aesthetics of Global Hunger: Genre, Form, Fiction.” Lecture for the Department of English, Harvard University, April, 2013. Invited.
  • “On Ruination and Reading Cultures,” Respondent to Cristina Della Coletta’s When Stories Travel. Gunst Colloquium, “Reading Across Borders: Moving Scriptures, Moving Texts," University of Virginia, February, 2013. Invited.
  • “The Hunger Arts: Writing, Painting and Sculpting Global Deprivation.” Lecture for the Department of English, University of Colorado, Boulder, February, 2013. Invited.
  • “Famine Aesthetics and the Global Novel.” Lecture for the English Department, Williams College, Williamstown, MA. January, 2013. Invited.
  • “Beyond the Postcolonial and the Global: A Roundtable Conversation,” Special Session at the MLA Convention. Co-Chair (with Elizabeth Anker, Cornell) and Presenter. Other panelists: Ranjana Khanna (Duke), Sangeeta Ray (Maryland), Joseph Slaughter (Columbia), Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia), Jennifer Wenzel (Michigan). 2013
  • “Concerning Hunger: Empire Aesthetics in the Present Time,” Conference on “Systems of Life: 1750-1850,” Huntington Library, Pasadena, California. November, 2012. Invited.
  • “On Outsourcing and Terror: Stereotypes and Narrative Aesthetics,” Conference on “Terror and the Inhuman,” Brown University, October, 2012.
  • “The Dead that Haunt Anil’s Ghost: On Postcolonial Melancholia” for Seminar titled, “Bad Acts: Trauma, Violence, Culture,” Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association. March 31-April 3,     2011, Vancouver, Canada, Presenter and Co-Chair.
  • Conference Panel on “America’s Developmental Imaginary” at the American Studies Association Convention, November 18-21, 2010, San Antonio, Texas, Presenter and Panel Moderator.
  • Seminar on Biopolitics, Participant, Huntington Library Research Group, Pasadena, California, Spring, 2010. Richard Barney (University of Albany) and Warren Montag (Occidental), Conveners. Invited.
  •  “On Diasporic Perspectives in the novels of Jhumpa Lahiri,” Inaugural Freshman Lecture, Occidental College. Invited. Fall, 2009.
  •  “Brick Lane Blockades: Transnationalism in Contemporary Britain” for Seminar, “Other Locations: Globalization and New Modes of Movement,” Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association. April  24-27, 2008, Long Beach, California, Presenter and Co-Chair.
  •  “On the Unpopular: Anglo-Arab Women’s Writing in a Time of War” for Special Session titled, “What is ‘Popular’?: Minor Politics and the Protest Narrative” at the Annual Modern Language Association Conference, Chicago, December 2007. Presenter and Panel Chair. (also delivered as a Faculty Lecture to the Department of English, University of Virginia, February, 2008).
  • “Postcolonial Inheritance and the Question of Psychoanalysis,” University of California Interdisciplinary Psychoanalytic Consortium, Lake Arrowhead Conference Center, California. May, 2007. Invited.
  • “Death, Debt, and the Dirty Politics of Diaspora: Concerning Arab Sovereignty in the West,” for Seminar, “(Neo) Orientalisms: Representing the Middle East,” Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association. April 18-22, 2007, Puebla, Mexico, Presenter and Seminar Chair.
  • “Seasons of Modernity: Some Comments on Tayeb Salih’s Fictions of Diaspora,” Occidental College, Los Angeles, Guest Speaker. February, 2007.
  • Feminist Theory Conference, Duke University, Workshop Participant. March, 2006
  • “Introducing Devi,” Presenter, Virginia Film Festival, University of Virginia. October, 2006.
  • Introductions to A Certain Liberation, and City of Photos, Traveling Film South Asia, University of Virginia. November, 2006.
  •  “Disciplinary Intertexts: Arab Women’s Fiction and the Frames of Arab Collectivism in Literature, History, Politics.” Presented at “Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice: Revisioning Academic Accountability,” Pitzer College, Claremont, California. February, 2005. Invited.
  •  “To Understand Me, You’ll Have to Swallow a World: South Asian Multitudes in the Fiction of Salman Rushdie.” Special Session entitled “Hybridity’s Children” at the Modern Language Association Conference, Philadelphia. December, 2004.