Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Upcoming events November 2014:

PCI Public Lecture: New Directions in Literary Postcolonial Studies: Prof. Deepika Bahri - Nov 26

Public lecture by                                                        

Deepika Bahri
(Emory University)

Date: Wednesday, 
26 November 2014 
Time: 15.15-17.00  
Location: Drift 25, room 102

Deepika Bahri

Birgit M. Kaiser (Dept of Comparative Literature)
Christine Quinan (Graduate Gender Programme)

Postcolonial Biology: Empire, Psyche, Flesh

The term hybridity originated in botany and zoology in reference to mixture between species, and subsequently gained force in debates about race in anthropology and biology. In literary and cultural studies, however, it has been used most successfully to theorize non-hierarchical spaces between fixed identities and social heteroglossia in linguistic utterances. This departure from its original usage, stemming from the exposure of race as fiction in the biological sciences and resistance to notions of racial or cultural purity in critical theory, tends to discourage further exploration into alternative conceptions of bodily hybridity. An interest in the biological impact of colonialism, however, needs to go beyond the idea of mixture based on deterministic difference. Colonial investment in racial border patrol and categorization was accompanied by imperial designs on impressionable, plastic body-minds at the level of ideology as well as the micromanagement of the bodily grammars of behavior. The politics of the imperial civilizing mission, founded in notions of racial and cultural superiority, not only re-calibrated knowledge systems, but also bodily aesthetics and comportment in matters as fundamental as how to eat, speak, sit, shit, spit.  This project turns to characters in literature to explore hybridity as the interplay of biology, culture, and aesthetic norms.

Together with the lecture, Deepika Bahri will also be teaching a masterclass for advanced MA and PhD students on Postcolonial Aeshetics. The masterclass will take place on Thursday, 27 November 2014 (14.30-17.00 at Utrecht University). For more information, please email: or

Deepika Bahri is Associate Professor in the English department at Emory University. Her research focuses on postcolonial literature, culture, and theory. She is the author of Native Intelligence: Aesthetics, Politics, and Postcolonial Literature (University of Minnesota Press, 2003) and co-editor of two collections of of essays: Between the Lines: South Asians and Postcoloniality (Temple UP, 1996) and Realms of Rhetoric: Inquiries into the Prospects of Rhetoric Education (SUNY Press, 2003). In 2006 she edited Empire and Racial Hybridity, a special issue of the journal, South Asian Review. She is currently working on the representation of Anglo-Indians, Eurasians, and racial hybrids in postcolonial literature.
She is also a member of the Postcolonial Studies Network at Emory University (

The lecture is part of the lecture series New Directions in Literary Postcolonial Studies, organized by Birgit M. Kaiser and Christine Quinan with the Postcolonial Studies Initiative PCI. It is financially supported by the PCI and the research area
Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights (CCHR), Utrecht University (

Earlier speakers in the series were Emily Apter (NYU) in June 2011, Réda Bensmaïa (Brown) in October 2012, and Ato Quayson (Toronto) in October 2013.


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