Leela Gandhi

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Leela Gandhi
Born1966 (age 54–55)

Leela Gandhi (born 1966) is the John Hawkes Professor of Humanities and English at Brown University and a noted academic in the field of postcolonial theory.[1][2] Previously, she taught at the University of Chicago, La Trobe University, and the University of Delhi. She is a founding co-editor of the academic journal Postcolonial Studies, and she serves on the editorial board of the electronic journal Postcolonial Text.[3] Gandhi is a Senior Fellow of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Gandhi was born in Mumbai and is the daughter of the late Indian philosopher Ramchandra Gandhi and the great-granddaughter of the Indian Independence movement leader Mahatma Gandhi.[5] She has offered analysis that some of Mahatma Gandhi's philosophies (on nonviolence and vegetarianism, for example) and policies were influenced by transnational as well as indigenous sources.[6] Her undergraduate degree is from Hindu College, University of Delhi and her doctorate was obtained from Balliol College, Oxford University.[7]

She is also the great-granddaughter of C. Rajagopalachari. Her paternal grandfather Devdas Gandhi was the youngest son of Mahatma Gandhi and her paternal grandmother Lakshmi was the daughter of C. Rajagopalachari.

Reviews and critiques[edit]

With the publication of her first book Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction in 1998, Gandhi was described as mapping "the field in terms of its wider philosophical and intellectual context, drawing important connections between postcolonial theory and poststructuralism, postmodernism, Marxism and feminism."[8]

Her next book, Affective Communities, was written to "[reveal] for the first time how those associated with marginalized lifestyles, subcultures, and traditions—including homosexuality, vegetarianism, animal rights, spiritualism, and aestheticism—united against imperialism and forged strong bonds with colonized subjects and cultures".[9] Gandhi traces the social networks of activists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries connecting Edward Carpenter with M.K. Gandhi and Mirra Alfassa with Sri Aurobindo.

Through this work, Gandhi became noted for proposing a "conceptual model of postcolonial engagement" surrounding ethical premises of hospitality and "xenophilia", and for bringing for the first time a queer perspective to postcolonial theory.

Gandhi's third book, The Common Cause, presents a transnational history of democracy in the first half of the twentieth century through the lens of ethics in the broad sense of disciplined self-fashioning.[10] This book has been described as "an alternate history of democracy foregrounding events of errant relation," and "the most thoroughgoing defence of the value of infinite inclusivity to postcolonial studies."[10][11][12]

Leela Gandhi is also a published poet. Her first collection of poems, Measures of Home, was published by Ravi Dayal in 2000, and her subsequent poetry is included in several anthologies.[13][14][15][16]

Published books[edit]

  • Gandhi, Leela. The Common Cause: Postcolonial Ethics and the Practice of Democracy, 1900–1955. University of Chicago Press (2014). ISBN 9780226019901.
  • Gandhi, Leela and Deborah L. Nelson eds., Around 1948: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Transformation, Critical Inquiry, Summer 2014, Volume 40 Issue 4. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673748
  • Blake, Ann; Leela Gandhi; and Sue Thomas. England Through Colonial Eyes in Twentieth-Century Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan (August 18, 2001). ISBN 0-333-73744-X.
  • Ezekiel, Nissim; Leela Gandhi; and John Thierne. Collected Poems (Oxford India Paperbacks). Oxford University Press, USA; 2 edition (December 13, 2005). ISBN 0-19-567249-6
  • Gandhi, Leela. Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. Columbia University Press (1998). ISBN 0-231-11273-4 2nd ed (2018) ISBN 9780231112734. ["In second edition, unlike in earlier chapters of the book, where abbreviated citations are incorporated in parentheses in the main body of the text, in this instance they can be found in the notes with some additional commentary".]
  • Gandhi, Leela. Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship (Politics, History, and Culture). Duke University Press (January 2006). ISBN 0-8223-3715-0.
  • Gandhi, Leela. Measures of home: Poems. Distributed by Orient Longman (2000) ISBN 81-7530-023-X.


  1. ^ Leela Gandhi's Research Profile at Brown University
  2. ^ New Faculty, News from Brown
  3. ^ Postcolonial Text ISSN 1705-9100.
  4. ^ Senior Fellows at the School of Criticism and Theory
  5. ^ IndiaPost.com: President, PM condole death of Ramachandra Gandhi Archived 2007-12-20 at the Wayback Machine Wednesday, 06.20.2007
  6. ^ As recounted in the notes on the Australian National University Humanities Research Center's conference Gandhi, Non-Violence and Modernity
  7. ^ "University of Chicago, Department of English faculty Web page". Archived from the original on 2010-06-09.
  8. ^ Gandhi, Leela. Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. Columbia University Press:1998 ISBN 0-231-11273-4. Back cover
  9. ^ Gandhi, Leela, Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought and the Politics of Friendship. New Delhi, Permanent Black, 2006, x, 254 p., $28. ISBN 81-7824-164-1. (jacket)
  10. ^ a b Gandhi, Leela (2014). The Common Cause: Postcolonial Ethics and the Practice of Democracy, 1900–1955. University of Chicago Press. Back Cover. ISBN 9780226019901.
  11. ^ Mehta, Rijuta; Langley, Tom; Bayeh, Jumana; Pressley-Sanon, Toni; Martin, Denise (2014-11-02). "Reviews". Interventions. 16 (6): 926–937. doi:10.1080/1369801X.2014.959372. ISSN 1369-801X.
  12. ^ "The Common Cause". University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  13. ^ de Souza, Eunice; Silgardo, Melanie, eds. (2013). The Penguin Book of Indian Poetry. Penguin. ISBN 9780143414537.
  14. ^ Thayil, Jeet, ed. (2008). 60 Indian Poets. Penguin. ISBN 9780143064428.
  15. ^ Sen, Sudeep, ed. (2012). The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-93-5029-041-5.
  16. ^ Watson, Mabel; Pitt, Ursula, eds. (2011). Domestic Cherry (1 ed.). Snove Books. ISBN 9781447660453.