Dr Sourit Bhattacharya
- Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies (English Literature)
Dr. Sourit Bhattacharya is Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies in the School of Critical Studies. He completed his BA and MA degrees in English literature from Presidency College (Calcutta University) and Jadavpur University, and an MPhil degree in Social Sciences from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. He received his Ph.D. degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies from the University of Warwick in 2017.
Between 2017 and 2018, Sourit was an Early Career Fellow at Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Study, and then from Apr 2018 to July 2019, he served as Assistant Professor of English in IIT Roorkee, India. He joined Glasgow in Aug 2019.
- Colonial and postcolonial studies
- Ecology, catastrophe, food security
- Literary Form and style
- Translation and indigenous studies
- Marxism, ecocriticism, world-systems theory
Sourit’s research interests lie in postcolonial and world literatures and theories, especially in the intersections of empire, environment, and literary and cultural practices. His Ph.D. thesis explored through novels based on three ‘catastrophic’ events from twentieth-century Indian history – the 1943 Bengal Famine, the 1967-1972 tribal peasant Naxalite movement, and the 1975-1977 Indian emergency - the historical-aesthetic link between modernity, agrarian and food crisis, catastrophe, and vulnerability in postcolonial India. In so doing, the work developed an alternative ‘canon’ for postcolonial Indian literature and a new literary theory of ‘catastrophic realism’. Sourit has essays broadly related to the project either published or forthcoming in such journals as 'Ariel', 'Textual Practice', 'Irish University Review', 'Interventions', and in edited volumes such as 'Cambridge Critical Concepts: Magical Realism', 'Aesthetics and Politics of Global Hunger', and others. A monograph from the project titled 'Postcolonial Modernity and the Indian Novel: On Catastrophic Realism' is forthcoming from Palgrave’s New Comparisons in World Literature series.
Sourit is currently involved in two other book projects. The first is a monograph on the current state of postcolonial literary studies titled 'Postcolonialism Now: Literatures and Contexts in the 21st Century' (Orient BlackSwan, 2021). This book engages with several topics within postcolonialism which have either drawn more attention in the last two decades, have been relatively under-studied within the field, or have transformed vitally over the years (including those of caste and untouchability, hunger, ecology, civil war, the refugee crisis, literary festivals, etc.). The book draws upon literature from diverse postcolonial regions (Nigeria, India, Australia, Bangladesh, the US, Palestine, etc.) as well as literary-theoretical fields such as cultural studies of disaster, critical theories of race, refugee and migration studies, gender and sexuality studies, translations studies, etc.
The second book stems from Sourit’s other interest in theorising world literature from the perspective of (non)translation and critical regionalism. This is an edited volume on the radical Bengali writer, Nabarun Bhattacharya, son of Mahasweta Devi and Bijan Bhattacharya, titled 'Nabarun Bhattacharya: Aesthetics and Politics in an Age after Ethics'. This volume, forthcoming with Bloomsbury, introduces this maverick author, whose works have touched upon such relevant social/literary issues as class struggle, subaltern resistance, ecological crisis, consumerism, millennial capitalism, postcolonialism, postmodernism, magic realism, and others, to a global audience.
After these projects, from mid-2021, Sourit plans to resume his project on world famines and world literature. This project, which began in Warwick as an immediate postdoctoral project and won a 2-year Irish Postdoctoral fellowship, aims to offer a new understanding of world literature from the perspective of empire, disaster, and world food crisis. It will involve literary narratives from Ireland, India, Scotland, South Africa an Indonesia. A collaborative work focussed on building an online public access archive on the literary and artistic works of the 1943 Bengal famine is also in order.
In 2014, along with Dr. Arka Chattopadhyay of IIT Gandhinagar, India, Sourit founded an online, open-access, peer-reviewed literary journal, Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry which he co-edits. The journal has published issues ranging from censorship, environmental humanities, translations, city space, terror, and others, and is currently archived and indexed in several noted archiving bodies including the Library of Congress, the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, ProQuest, DOAJ, etc.
Sourit has organised an international conference at Warwick, ‘The Matter of Resistance’ (2016) and helped organise several special panels in relevant annual conventions. He has also presented work in numerous conferences in India, the UK, the Netherlands, and the US. He has experience in supervising UG and PG dissertations, convening academic committees, and peer-reviewing for academic journals (details in the Additional Information section).
- 2018-2020 Irish Research Council Postdoc Fellowship, University College Dublin (declined)
- 2017-18 Postdoctoral Funding, Early Career Fellowship, Warwick Univ.
- 2013-17 Full Ph.D. Funding, Chancellors Int’l Scholarship, Warwick Univ.
- 2010-12 Full M.Phil. Funding, Government of India (UGC-JRF), Jadavpur Univ.
- 2017 Travel Grant, PSA grant (Univ of London), Postcolonial Studies Association
- 2017 Research & Travel Grant, ACLA Conf. (Utrecht), Warwick & ACLA
- 2016 Research Grant, Postcolonial Studies Association, UK
- 2016 Research Grant, Humanities Research Fund, Warwick
- 2016 Research & Travel Grant, MLA Conf. (Austin), Warwick & MLA
- 2016 Travel Grant, ECSAS conf. (Warsaw Uni.), English & CLS, Warwick
- 2015 Travel Grant, PSA Conf. (Leicester Uni.), English and CLS, Warwick
- 2015 International Conference Organization Grant (Warwick), Warwick
Sourit will be interested in supervising dissertations broadly in the field of postcolonial and world literatures, and more specifically in the areas of the nation and political struggle, ecology and vulnerability, race and racism, caste and untouchability, university and decolonial theories, translation and regionalism, literary aesthetics and form, and Marxism.
Writing and Ideology
Postcolonialism: Writing and Theory
Conferences and Special Panels Organised
Co-organizer, “Does the Untranslated Travel?: Towards a Regional World Literature”, proposed seminar, ACLA Annual Meeting, Georgetown University, March 2019
Sole organizer, Panel, “Postcolonial Disasters: Globalization, Conflict, and Representation” in Postcolonial Studies Association (PSA) Biennial Convention, Senate House, London, Sep 18-20, 2017.
Co-organizer, Conference, The Matter of Resistance, Univ. of Warwick, Apr 29, 2016.
Member of the organising committee, Conference, Victorian World Literature, Univ. of Warwick, May 19-20, 2016
Co-organizer, Special Panel, “Peripheral Modernity and South Asian Literary-World.” 24th Biennial European Conference on South Asian Studies. Univ. of Warsaw, July 27-30, 2016.
Co-organizer, Roundtable, “Peripheral Aesthetics and World Literature.” 131st Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Austin, Texas, Jan 7-10, 2016 (Jan 8).
Invited Contributions and paper Presentations (Selected)
“World-Famines and World-Literature.” Historical Materialism: Sixteenth Annual Conference. University of London, Nov 7-10, 2019
“Food Crisis and Welfare State in Postcolonial India: A Literary Instance.” Postcolonial Studies Association Biennial Convention. University of Manchester, Sep 11-13, 2019.
“Uneven Modernity in the Postcolonial Metropolis: Nabarun Bhattacharya’s Critical Irrealist Tales.” Uneven and Combined Development in the 21st Century: A Conference. University of Glasgow, Sep 5-7, 2019
“Poets of the World: Literature and Internationalism in Mid-20thC Bengal.“ American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference. Georgetown University. Washington D.C., March 8, 2019
“Towards A New Literary Historiography: The Cultural Poetics of Food Crisis in Twentieth-Century Indian Literature.” The Literary Across Cultures: Cultural Poetics of Bhasha Literatures in Theory and Practice. Forum on Contemporary Theory, Baroda, Feb 25- 27, 2019
“Outside of the City: Food Crisis and Literature in Post-Famine Bengal.” Trans/Region/Nation: Literature Cinema Interface Conference. BITS Pilani Goa, Goa, Jan 31-Feb 2, 2019 (invited)
“Food Crisis and Protest Culture in Contemporary India.” Workshop on Postcolonial Unrest(s): State, Citizen Rights, Trauma(s). IIT Kharagpur, Jun 30, 2018 (invited)
“From Colonial Famine to Postcolonial Hunger.” Two guest lectures at CSSS, Calcutta (invited) and at University of Oxford (part of the Global Hunger Conference). June 20 and 25, 2018
“Torture, Class, and Literary Form: Novels of the Indian Emergency.” Disciplining Reproduction in Modern South Asia: Emergency and Beyond, Univ. of Exeter, Sep 4-5, 2017 (invited).
“Neo-colonialism, Indigenous Struggle, and Mahasweta Devi’s Fiction.” ACLA Annual Convention, Univ. of Utrecht, Jul 6-9, 2017 (invited).
“Fashion Victims: Bangladesh Rana Plaza Disaster and Resistant Art-work”. Postcolonial Studies Association Biennial Conference. Univ. of London, Sep 18-20, 2017.
“Globalization, Postcolonial Ecology, and Critical Irrealism: The Fiction of Mahasweta Devi and Pepetala.” Other Globes: Past and Peripheral Imagination. Univ. of Amsterdam, Jul 4-5, 2017.
"Intolerance and Crisis in Indian Democracy."16th South Asian Literary Association Annual Convention, Austin, Texas. Jan 5, 2016 (Presidential Panel: invited).
“What is World Literature for a Postcolonial Nation?” World Literature and Dissent, Univ. of St. Andrews, Jun 17-18, 2016.
Supervision and Examination of Dissertations
Sourit has examined an M.Phil. dissertation at Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and, for a brief period in IIT Roorkee, supervised three Ph.D. theses on Dalit Literature, Toxicity and Postcolonial Literature, and Magical Realism in South
Convenor, Website Management Committee, IIT Roorkee
Member, Departmental Research Committee, IIT Roorkee
member, Departmental Academic Programme Committee, IIT Roorkee
Early Career training at Academic Career and Employability of Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Study (completed, Mar 2018)
Peer Reviewer of Journals
- Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal
- South Asian Diaspora
- Porn Studies
- Open Library of Humanities
- Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal