Teaching and Research Positions
Graduate (University of California, Berkeley)
Graduate Student Instructorship
I have developed a project titled India as a Multi-Lingual Space that students in my various courses have contributed to. The central idea lies in the concept that India is a space where multiple languages are used at once and they merge into each other.
Spring 2023: India through the Writers Eye | Lead Instructor
Title of the Course: Detectives of West Bengal
The detective is a curious character in Bengali Literature. From its origins in late 19th and early 20th century London, the detective novel soon migrated to become a major genre in Bengal in the early 20th century Bengal. Calcutta, the major metropolis of British India, remains the epicentre of Detective Novels not just in Bengal but in larger South Asian Literature. In post-colonial India, the detective novel becomes a major form of entertainment that is able to penetrate audiences of all kinds. In the 21st century, there is a renewed zeal for the same within newer audio-visual mediums and it has increasingly become one of the most marketable genres. In this course, we will take a sneak peek into this oeuvre of literature and cinema. Our aim is to see what is unique ‘bengali’ about these detectives and how they are set apart from detectives in other parts of the world. We will also try to analyse the reasons for the genre’s ever-growing popularity and its cultural positioning in modern West Bengal. The syllabus is divided into four modules. The first module will focus on introducing the idea of colonial and post-colonial literature and thinking about what the detective novel means in this context. We will be reading critical texts and early detective literature. The next two sections will focus on two specific detectives: Byomkesh Bakshi and Feluda. They both are major cultural actors in the context of modern Bengal, and therefore we both read books and see films. In the fourth section, we will be looking at newer detectives and mysteries, and how the phenomena have evolved in post-liberalised modernity.
Fall 2022: Great Books of India | Lead Instructor
Title of the Course: Tagore in Our Space: Visions from the 21st Century
This R5A in South Asian Studies, titled Great Books in India, looks at one of India’s greatest thinkers, Rabindranath Tagore. We will be reading and seeing Tagore extensively in this course, but also thinking about his presence in the larger Indian cultural space. I teach this course not as a Tagore scholar but as a Tagore reader. This course will attempt to move away from his western imagery of a nature poet to view him as a stalwart in Indian culture. This course will feature several of his lesser-known poems, novellas, and newer translations of some of his more popular classics. Space and time will serve as essential components of understanding Tagorian aesthetics, and this course is divided into sections according to my understanding of space and time. The major attempt will be to not only take a (re)look at one of the stalwarts of World Literature but also situate him in his space and time.
I have developed the syllabus for this course, its various assignments, and modules based on a syllabus developed by the Linguistics Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
It is estimated that half of the world’s languages are on the verge of disappearing, and that eventually we will lose linguistic diversity. In this course we will ask the questions: What do we lose when a language dies? What is the value of linguistic diversity? We will talk about the links between language and thought, culture, and identity. We will also address some causes of language endangerment, and the issues involved in revitalizing languages, including policy and documentation. This course also attempts to think about how language has shaped politics, nation-making, and genocide across the world.
Title of Course: Detectives in Indian Literature and Cinema: The Goenda, the Jashush, and the Satyanweshi
I have developed the syllabus for this course, its various assignments, and modules.
The detective is a curious character in Indian literature. From its origins in late 19th and early 20th century London, the detective novel soon migrated to become a major genre in Indian Literature. It is an evolving part of the culture in many parts of India and also evolved to be a unique brand in itself. There is a renewed zeal for the same within newer audio-visual mediums and it has increasingly become one of the most marketable genres. In this course, we will take a sneak peek into this oeuvre of literature and cinema. Our aim is to see what is uniquely ‘Indian’ or regional about these detectives and how they are set apart from detectives in other parts of the world. We will also try to analyze the reasons for the genre’s ever-growing popularity and its cultural positioning in modern India.
Fall 2021: War, Empire, and Literature in East Asia | Professor Andrew Jones
This course examines war, empire, and literature in context of imperialism through an eclectic group of literary and cinematic texts from China, Japan, Korea and beyond. The compulsory readings for this course include:
The Stolen Bicycle; Wu Ming Yi
The Rings of Saturn; W.G. Sebald
The Blue Lotus; Hergé
Undergraduate (Ashoka University)
Spring 2021: Science in Society and World 1900-2020 | Professor Kapil Raj
Over the past century and a half, science has progressively become an integral part of all major issues of public concern. Crucially, it has become the principal arbiter of every aspect of human life, defining what is natural and what is rational. Power itself is now exercised, as never before in history, through scientific expertise and the use of science to transform the material, economic, cultural, environmental, and biological aspects of our lives. Science is thus both the emblem of Modernity and the yardstick for measuring economic and social development internationally. A historical study of the dynamics of science as a social institution and its stakes in global, national, and local politics is thus indispensable for an understanding of the contemporary world.
In the guise of a guided tour of the transformations in the global geopolitical and intellectual landscape from the turn of the 20th century to the present, this course traces the concomitantly changing images of science and the (re)writing of its history as a purely Western phenomenon. It also introduces key concepts of the interdisciplinary field of the history, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy of science as they emerged in this process. It thus provides a toolkit for thinking critically about the place of science and other knowledge practices in contemporary societies.
I worked with students to facilitate discussions and bring together many different disciplines in this course.
Spring 2021: Poetics in Indian Dance | Professor Navtej Singh Johar
This course will touch upon poetics from the perspective of Sanskrit grammar, aesthetic theory, as well as practice. Considering that it is Bharata who first delineates the Rasa theory within the Indian discourse of poetics, the Natya Shastra will remain a primary point of reference throughout the course; however, we will focus more deeply upon its commentary, the Abhinavabharati, by Abhinavagupta (10th century CE), as well as subsequent texts on poetics, namely the Kavyaprakasha by Mammata (11th century CE) and the Sahityadarpana by Vishvanatha (14th century CE). The course will be structured around the bhava-rasa theory and have a two-fold focus, it will a) explore the reciprocal possibilities of the vibhava—the poetic object that elicits or provokes the bhava, or the emotion; and b) examine how the influence of the Dhvani school of poetics and the addition of the ninth rasa -santa rasa- may have radicalized the original eight-rasa model proposed by Bharata; and most importantly, c) the central position of “ease” or sukha in Indian poetics as opposed to self-conscious “doing” or “delivering”. Alongside theory, we will also sample sacred-erotic poetry that has enjoyed a special place within the performative traditions of India. To conclude, we will briefly touch upon the influence of the “classical” upon the poetic imaginations of both dance and music,
The course will also include a somatic practice as well as visualizations (dharanas) from the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, as it belongs to the same Saiva school out of which emerges the Dhvani school of poetics, to offer a practical lead into the theoretical framework that seamlessly mixes body, sensuality, poetics, and mysticism.
Monsoon 2020: HIS-4204: Making of the Indian Republic | Professor Aparna Vaidik
This course examines the history of India from the Raj's twilight to the early decades of the republic. The students will get a chance to re-examine the familiar story starting from the second world war, the coming of the independence, partitioning of the British Empire, the making of the Indian constitution and the beginning of planned industrialization from a new perspective. This course lies at the intersection of history, politics, literature and sociology where the focus is not just the big political leaders, the state policies, and realpolitik but on the civil society drivers and the lesser-known figures, regional movements, grassroot workers, histories of labour, food and everyday technology. We will begin each segment through a primary source workshop involving an examination of the ephemera of the past such as the newspaper reportage, cartoon, paintings, advertisements, film posters along with regional literature, oral histories, memoirs, theatre and cinema of the period along with etc. I have been working very closely with students through weekly reading groups, along with my co-TA , also helping them in though their blogs and their final assignments.
Summer 2020: CW 1001 Introduction to Creative Writing| Professor Arunava Sinha
This was an introductory Creative Writing course, where students were introduced to the basics of writing through primarily three genres; fiction, narrative non-fiction, and poetry. I worked on helping students through their writings and readings, leading up to the final presentation and portfolio.
Spring 2020: CW 3004 Translation Workshop| Professor Arunava Sinha
This was an intensive pen-on-paper – physical or digital – approach to practical translation of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Students worked on translating large sections from each of these genres, from languages of their choice, into English. Students were translating every week, sharing our translations with one another, critiquing them, and solving translation-related problems that we encountered through discussion and debate. I worked with managing the logistics for the course given that we shifted to online in the middle of the semester, and also helping students with the translation activities in the classroom.
Monsoon 2019: CW 2010 Craft of Writing: The Essay | Professor Sumana Roy
The course focused on the genre of the Creative Essay. The students read an essay – usually, a sub-genre – every week on Thursday. Close reading and discussion were followed by students writing an essay on a similar subject or style. This was discussed in the workshop with written feedback from fellow participants. Apart from creating an awareness of the history of the genre with appropriate examples, the aim of the course was to help students to attempt (‘essay’, after all, comes from a French word which means ‘to try’) as many kinds of essays as they could write during the course of the semester. I worked with the logistics of the course and also helped students with the writing and research for the course through feedback.
"Falling of the Light" | Sumana Roy, February 2020
I worked on bibliographical work for her research project, "Falling in the Light". I looked through secondary material from Bengali cinema and literature, particularly of Satyajit Ray.
This page includes the course descriptions for the courses I have had a teaching position for.