Call for Papers on South Asia and Masculinity

My graduate student is soliciting paper proposals for a panel at the American Comparative Literature Association; please read below for more details and send proposals directly to pmitra@tamu.edu



Affects, Emotions, and Desires: Perspectives on Postcolonial Masculinit(ies)

Organizer: Shwetha Chandrashekhar

Co-Organizer: Pujarinee Mitra

Contact the Seminar Organizers

This seminar will query the affective connections between postcoloniality and masculinity to interrogate and rethink the commonly held notions about patriarchy, power, and gender inequality. Even though postcolonial theory has come a long way since Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks where he uses Manichean categories – “the woman of color and the white man” and “the man of color and the white woman” – to critique racism and colonialism, there are not many book-length studies that explore how complex masculine subjectivities operate in and across postcolonial and transnational contexts. Not only does this seminar aspire to problematize the link between masculinity and maleness and critically engage with constructions of alternative masculinities in postcolonial literature, cinema, and media, it also stresses the need to depart from the Euroamerican affective constructions (like that in Massumi) and pay attention to affects around sexuality, desire, and agency that are peculiar to postcolonial societies.

The definition of affect that this seminar is working with has been proposed by Sara Ahmed in her collaborative work, “Affect/Emotion: Orientation Matters. A Conversation between Sigrid Schmitz and Sara Ahmed” (2014, pp. 97-108). In it, she states that her use of ‘affect’ is partly interchangeable with what the term ‘emotions’ signifies. References to other postcolonial affect theorists are welcome and encouraged. We invite papers that are sensitive to contradictions, ambiguities, and affective dissonances that surface in the fictional depictions of masculinities due to economic, racial, religious, caste, and sexual hierarchies and conflicts.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • masculinities and/as performance
  • masculinity and the problem of representation 
  • female masculinity and male femininity
  • homosexual, homoerotic, and homosocial relationships
  • excessive masculinity or insufficient masculinity
  • military/army masculinity or other state masculinities
  • masculinities and negative affects
  • religion, masculinity, and nationalism
  • race, caste, and masculinity
  • masculinity in the digital space

In other news, hard to believe that Love’s Garden is now almost a year old. Have you found your copy yet? You can, at

Amazon      Aubade Publishing      Amazon.in      Indiebound       Bookbub      Bookshop

Love's Garden front cover

There is nothing Lady Prem Mitter, unhappy wife of Indian baronet Sir Mitter in Calcutta in the 1920s, won’t do to protect the abandoned daughter of her dead childhood friend. When she’s asked to step in to protect the child of an Englishwoman with a mysterious connection to her husband, though, can she cope? Diverse stories of family and women’s lives in modern India ruled by the British unearth an older secret in Lady Mitter’s past, a secret that holds the key to her life and loves during the most turbulent times in British-ruled India.    

Reviewers hail it as “wonderfully dense and wise,” “gripping,” “a journey into India’s complex past” and “what women will do to protect those they love” — an epic saga of Indian women living through a century of war and decolonization

Buzzfeed; Foreword Reviews; NetGalley Reviews; Medium.com; Goodreads; Amazon.com; The Compulsive Reader; Tupelo Quarterly; Author’s Guild Author Spotlight

Yes, I would be thrilled to bits if you happen to enjoy Love’s Garden and just happen to toss off a smiling review on Amazon.com or Goodreads.com owning up to it!

TILL SOON!

The itty bitties:

Folks, I was born and raised in India and have called the United States my second continent for the last thirty-odd years. Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve generally turned to books for the answers to life’s questions, big or small (that includes philosophy and recipes). My first novel Love’s Garden was published in October 2020. Some nice people have said some nice things about it (Buzzfeed; Medium.com; Foreword Reviews; Goodreads). I’m currently working on Homeland Blues, my second novel, about love, colorism, racism and xenophobia in post-Donald Trump America.

My short stories have been published or will be in inOyster River Pages, Sky Island Journal, the Saturday Evening Post Best Short Stories from the Great American Fiction Contest Anthology 2021, the Good Cop/Bad Cop Anthology (Flowersong Press, 2021), the Gardan Anthology of the Craigardan Artists Residency, Funny Pearls, The Bombay Review, Meat for Tea: the Valley Review, Storyscape Journal, Raising Mothers, The Bangalore Review, PANK, OyeDrum, and more. I’ve attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop, the Vermont Studio Center residency, the VONA residency, Centrum Writer’s Residency, and others. I was first runner-up for the Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction contest (2017-2018), long-listed for the Disquiet International Literary Prize (2019 and 2020), a finalist for the Reynolds-Price International Women’s Literary Award (2019), and received Honorable Mention for the Saturday Evening Post Great American Stories Contest, 2021.

In a related avatar, I’m Professor of English at Texas A&M University, USA and teach and write about English literature, South Asia Studies, Indian Cinema, Postcolonial Studies, Colonial Discourse Analysis, Gender Theory, Film Studies, and Critical Theory. I founded and directed (2007-2017) the South Asia Working Group of the Glasscock Humanities Center at Texas A&M University, and rom 2012 -2014 directed the Graduate Studies program of the English department at Texas A&M University. I’ve published three academic monographs and many articles on film, world literature, feminism and visual culture, colonial and postcolonial discourse analyses of literature from the eighteenth century onwards, gender in South Asia, and travel writing. The latest of these is Hindi Cinema: Repeating the Subject (Routledge 2012). I’ve received grants and fellowships from the Huntington Library Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, the Regional Worlds Program of the Globalization Project (Ford Foundation) at the Chicago Humanities Institute, and the Lilly Foundation.

I love (because I read!) Jhumpa Lahiri, Megha Majumdar, Amitav Ghosh, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Jose Sarmago, Salman Rushdie, and last but not least, Chimamanda Adichie.

I also play at Youtube; Amazon; Author’s Guild; Twitter; Instagram; Facebook; Blog; LinkedIn; Goodreads; and Nandini’s Writing Treehugging and Reading Outfit

I was sighted at these spots recently:

Featured Panelist on “Shapes of History” panel, 3rd Tasveer South Asian LitFest (TSAL), part of

Tasveer Festival: Watch, Read, Talk; October 1st-24th, 2021; also available here with a ticket or pass; October 19th, 2021, 9 pm CST

Featured Reading of Love’s Garden, Bright Hill Press Reading, July 8, 2021

Invited Reading at Lit Balm: an Interactive Livestream Reading Series, February 27, 2021

Invited Workshop and Reading with a focus on Love’s Garden at Dev Samaj College for Women, Panjab University, India, February 2, 2021

Featured Reading from Love’s Garden in the Hidden Timber Book Reading Series, January 24, 2021

Reading from Love’s Garden at Readings on the Pike, December 10, 2020, 7-8 PM EST

Reading at the KGB Bar, New York City, Nov 15, 2020, 7-9 PM EST

Reading at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Nov 13, 6-7 PM CST

Book Launch at Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX, Oct 27, 2020, 7–8 PM CST

Cambridge Writers Workshop and IEE Benefit Reading, July 24, 8-9 PM:

Podcasts: Desi Books Episode 21

Interviews: Nandini Bhattacharya speaks on “Tell Me Your Story” Digital Conversation, April 10, 2021, 8 am CDT, on MONEY/MOOLAH/THAT THING THAT THEY SAY MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND, and Colonialism, Gender and Writing; Oyedrum; Lois Lane Investigates; Tupelo Quarterly; Critical Flame

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