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Kanishka Chowdhury


American Culture and Difference

  • Expertise
  • Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Twentieth-century Cultural Theory, Contemporary South Asian Culture and Politics, Theories of Globalization

I’m interested in the ways that culture, politics, ethics, and aesthetics intersect, so in all of my classes, we analyze texts as part of complex social formations and in specific historical contexts. Recently, I’ve taught courses in cultural studies, immigrant literatures, global film, transnational literatures, and writing and resistance. I’ve also written on many of these topics, as well as on contemporary postcolonial cultures and their connections to emerging forms of citizenship and neoliberal economic changes.

My latest book, Human Rights Discourse in the Post-9/11 Age examines some of the contradictions that emerge in contemporary rights language when material relations are not sufficiently perceived or acknowledged while directing attention to the role of some rights talk in maintaining and managing the accelerated global project of capital accumulation.


Human Rights Discourse in the Post-9/11 Age. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

The New India: Citizenship, Subjectivity and Economic Liberalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Selected Articles, Review Essays, and Reviews

“Globalization and the South Asian Novel.” Oxford History of the Novel in English, Volume 10. Oxford University Press, 2019.

“Rosa Luxemburg's The Accumulation of Capital, Postcolonial Theory, and the Problem of Present Day Imperialisms.” New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics Vol. 94, 2018: pp.142-60.

“Imperialism.” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Literature. Eds. Henry Schwartz and Sangeeta Ray. New York: Wiley Blackwell, 2015.

Review of On Anger: Race, Cognition, Narrative. MELUS 40.1 (Spring 2015): 206–208.

Review of Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital by Vivek Chibber. Science and Society. 78.4 (October 2014): 645–647.

“The American Dispossessed: Outsiders in Ferguson.” Counterpunch. August 21, 2014.

“Paths to Revolution.” With Barbara Foley. Mediations 27.1–2: (Fall/Spring 2013–2014): 411–418.

“Malala Yousefzai and the Modern Subject.” Counterpunch. October 11–13, 2013.

"Deflecting Crisis: Critiquing Capitalism’s Emancipation Narrative.” Works and Days. Special Issue on Culture and Crisis. 30.59/60 (2012): 349–360.

"Interrogating the New: Globalization, Endless War, and Postcolonial Theory." Cultural Critique. 62 (Spring 2006): 126-62.

"Transnational Transgression: Reading Mira Nair's Kama Sutra and Deepa Mehta's Fire in a Global Economy," South Asian Review 24.1 (Summer 2003): 180-201.

"It's All Within Your Reach: Nationalisms in the Age of the Global Economy," Cultural Logic, November 2002. Reprinted in Freeindiamedia.com.

"Postcolonial Longings." Modern Fiction Studies. 46.2 (Summer 2000): 496-500.

"Afrocentric Voices: Constructing Identities, (Dis)placing Difference." Race-ing Representation: Voice, History, and Sexuality, eds., Kostas and Linda Myrsiades. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998: 21-54.

“Surplus Population and the Value of Money in Patnaik’s A Theory of Imperialism.” Institute of Theory and Culture.” UC, Davis, June, 2017.

Chair and Speaker, “What’s Going On: Imperialism in the 21st Century.” Left Forum, New York City, June 2017.

Invited Speaker, “Rosa Luxemburg Reads the Present Crisis,” Concordia University, Montreal, June 27, 2016.

“Imperialism and the Racial Other” John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, May 21, ,2016.

“Racism, Exploitation, and the Credit Mechanism of Contemporary Capitalism.” Conference on Capital: The Basement Tapes. Georgetown University, June 25, 2015.

“Naturalizing Transnational Exploitation.” Left Forum. John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, May 30, 2015.

“Transformative Justice and the Transactional Moment.” Left Forum. City University of New York, May 31, 2014.

“Rights Talk and the Accumulation of Wealth.” 15th Triennial Conference of EACLALS. University of Innsbruck, April 17, 2014.

Chair, “Narratives of Enrichment.” 15th Triennial Conference of EACLALS. University of Innsbruck, April 17, 2014.

“Justice, Dialectics, and the Discourse of Rights.” Ohio State University. June 24, 2013.