Scholars in Residence

Spring 2015: Debjani Ganguly

Debjani Ganguly is director of the Humanities Research Centre and associate professor of literature at the Australian National University. Her areas of research include the contemporary Anglophone novel, literary forms in the new media age, postcolonial approaches to caste and dalit studies, Indian literatures in Hindi, Marathi and Bengali, language worlds in colonial/postcolonial South Asia, and Indian Ocean literary worlds from 1750-1950. She is the author of This Thing Called the World: The Contemporary Novel as Global Form (Duke University Press, 2015 in press) and Caste, Colonialism and Counter-Modernity: Notes on a Postcolonial Hermeneutics of Caste (Routledge 2005). She is currently working on a monograph on new visual media and the twenty-first century novel. Debjani has held visiting fellowships at the University of Chicago, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, and University of Michigan. Debjani is a Life Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and Member on the international advisory boards of the Harvard Institute for World Literature and the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), Duke University. She is a member of the PMLA Advisory Committee and co-edits (with Ato Quayson and Neil Ten Kortenaar) the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry.

Activities

Public Works Seminar:
Global Humanities and the Problem of the 'Public': An Antipodean Perspective
Wednesday, April 8 @ 4:00pm, University Club, Room 313

Debjani Ganguly will address the political economy of the global in the way that it impacts the functioning of humanities in contemporary Australia; and the thematics of the global as reflected in the intellectual agenda of humanities research in the Australia and the Asia- Pacific region, how this gets calibrated in terms of its worldly consequences, and the idea of the 'publics' for such research.

Human Rights Program Colloquium:
"Humanitarian Scripts in the World Novel," by Professor Debjani Ganguly, Australian National University and Jay C. and RUth Halls Visiting
Thursday, April 9 @ 12pm, Room 5223 Law School Building
Cosponsored by Human Rights Program and Global Legal Studies Center at the UW-Madison Law School

Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Bibiliomigrancy:
World Literature in the Public Sphere
Friday, April 10, 9:30-5:00pm, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street

9:30-11:30 am: The Contemporary World Novel: Hauntings and Mediations
3:00-5:00pm: The world Novel and the Conundrum of Global Islam: The Case of Rushdie                                  

Public Talk:
Real Virtualities and the Undead Genre: The Novel in Our Time
Monday, April 13 @ 5:30pm, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, L140

The death knell of the novel has been sounded often enough in our hypervisual era. In this talk, Debjani Ganguly argues that far from being dead, the contemporary novel abstracts the phenomenology of the spectatorship and the visual in our time in fascinating ways. With a focus on novels dealing with war, violence and conflict zones in our contemporary era - Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, 9/11 -  Ganguly traces a mode of novelistic intermediality derived from the trope of ekphrasis - the verbal description of a visual object - and demonstrates, through a reading of excerpts from the work of Ian McEwan and Martin Amis, the ways in which they manifest a new structure of address and a new infrastructure of responsibility to an ever-expanding realm of virtual publics. She also undertakes a reading that complicates the relationship between the widespread mediatization of war-induced humanitarian crises and the visualization of such crises in in contemporary novels, such as works by Joe Sacco, Nadeem Aslam, and Kevin Powers. The melancholic mode these novels adopt, she argues, operates with a dissensual force that destabilizes the visual economy of media representations of war and humanitarian suffering.

Class Visit:
Anglophone Diaspora Fiction
Ganguly visited "Anglophone Diaspora Fiction," an advanced undergraduate seminar led by Professor Aparna Dharwadker, discussing Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss.