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Rajeswari Sunder Rajan 

Visiting Professor of English, Ashoka University

Ph.D., George Washington University

Rajeswari Sunder Rajan’s areas of research and teaching include postcolonial studies, feminist theory, gender and culture in South Asia, religion and secularism, Indian writing in English, and the British Victorian novel.

Dr. Rajan has taught in various colleges in India, at the University of Oxford in the U.K., at George Washington University, New York University, and the University of Chicago in the United States. She was a Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi (1994 to 2000) and at the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi (2000 to 2001), and a Visiting Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University (2017). She was the Shansi Visiting Professor at Oberlin College, Ohio, in 2001; Visiting Professor at the University of Delhi in 2011; and the Schaffner Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago in Spring 2022.

Dr. Rajan was one of the founding editors of the postcolonial studies journal, Interventions, published by Routledge.

In 2009, with principal applicant Josephine McDonagh at King’s College, London, and Supriya Chaudhuri at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, she was awarded a Leverhulme Network Grant for a three-year international collaborative project entitled “Commodities and Culture, 1851-1914.” A volume titled Commodities and Culture in the Colonial World, jointly edited with Supriya Chaudhuri, Josephine McDonagh, and Brian Murray (Routledge, 2017), resulted from this project.

In 2017, she initiated an international network research project on Postcolonial Print Cultures at NYU, in collaboration with Dr. Neelam Srivastava at Newcastle University (UK) (https://postcolonialpc.com/). The project brings together scholars from both institutions, along with others in India, S. Africa, Britain and the USA, to explore this new and rapidly growing field of research in postcolonial studies, via a series of workshops and conferences. Five international conferences were organized between 2017 and 2020, at NYU, Newcastle, London, and NYU Abu Dhabi. A volume titledHandbook of Postcolonial Print Cultures, co-edited with Toral Gajarawala, Neelam Srivastava and Jack Webb (Bloomsbury, forthcoming), is a product of this collaboration.

Some recent articles:

  • “Ticket to a Museum: Reading Orhan Pamuk in Our Times,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 55: 3, November,
  • “Subramania Bharati and the Rhetorics of Enthusiasm,” History of the Present 2, October 2021.
  • “The Novel of India,” in Alex Tickell, ed. The Novel in South and South East Asia, Volume 10 of the Oxford History of the Novel in English (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).
  • “Feminism’s Futures: The Limits and Ambitions of Rokeya’s Dream,” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 50, Issue No. 41, 10 October, 2015.
  • “A Woman’s Worth”, Granta 130, May 22, 2015.
  • “Zeitgeist and the Literary Text: India, 1947, in Qurratulain Hyder’s My Temples, Too, and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children,Critical Inquiry40: 4, 2014.
  • “Theory in the Mirror of Caste,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 3, Winter 2013.


  • Handbook of Postcolonial Print Cultures, co-edited with Toral Gajarawala, Neelam Srivastava and Jack Webb (London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming)
  • Commodities and Culture in the Colonial World, co-edited with Supriya Chaudhuri, Josephine McDonagh, and Brian Murray (London and New York: Routledge, 2017)
  • The Crisis of Secularism in India, co-edited with Anuradha Needham (Durham and London: Duke University Press, and New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2007.)
  • The Scandal of the State: Women, Law and Citizenship in India (Durham and London: Duke University Press, and New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003).
  • Postcolonial Jane Austen, co-edited with You-me Park (London and New York: Routledge, 2000; paperback reprint, 2004).
  • (ed.) Signposts: Gender Issues in Post-Independence India (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1999; reprinted by Rutgers UP, 2000).
  • Real and Imagined Women: Gender, Culture and Postcolonialism (London and New York, Routledge, 1993).
  • (ed.) The Lie of the Land: English Literary Studies in India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992).
  • (Series ed) Issues in Indian Feminism, 7 volumes, New Delhi: Women Unlimited.

At NYU, Dr. Sunder Rajan offered a series of graduate courses under the rubric ‘Concepts in Postcolonial Theory’, from 2006 to 2021, covering the following topics: ‘modernity’, ‘the other’, ‘the subaltern and the intellectual,’ ‘gender and feminism,’ ‘the production of knowledge,’ ‘diaspora, exile, and migration,’ ‘postcolonial thought: politics, ethics, philosophy’, ‘World Literature’, ‘development’, ‘the politics of religion and secularism,’ ‘the nation,’ ‘postcolonial poetics,’ and ‘new directions in postcolonial studies’.

Undergraduate courses taught include Anglophone Women Writers of Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean; The ‘Other’: Identity and Representation; Anti-colonial Resistance in Literature and Film; Nation and Narration; Salman Rushdie (single author course); The Body in South Asian Literature and Culture; Introduction to Critical Theory; English 101 (Introduction to Literary Studies).

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka