R. Radhakrishnan

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Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan
Born (1949-10-28)28 October 1949
Sirkali, Tamil Nadu
Era 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Postcolonialism, Postmodernism
Notable ideas
diasporic hybridity
global unevenness

Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan, commonly known as R. Radhakrishnan, is Chancellor's Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, and is considered one of the leading postcolonial theorists and literary critics in the United States. He was born on 28 October 1949, in Sirkali, a village in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Radhakrishnan is also noted as a translator and poet of Tamil as well as a master of English and English literary criticism. He was initially educated in Madras and earned his PhD from Binghamton University.

Teaching career[edit]


  • PhD, English, Binghamton University, May 1983. The Post-modern Context and the Language of Difference: An Essay In Emergence. Dissertation Director: Professor William V. Spanos.
  • M.A. English, Madras University, Madras, India, May 1971.
  • B.A. Economics, Madras University, Madras, India, May 1969.

Published books[edit]

History, the Human, and the World Between[edit]

History, the Human, and the World Between brings Radhakrishnan closer than ever to a more conventional unified book, being divided between three long chapters and a multipurpose introduction, yet it remains essentially a collection of essays. As well as a critical engagement with many of the most powerful influences on his thought, this book marks somewhat of a departure for Radhakrishnan, a move away from poststructuralist methodology and towards (or perhaps back to) phenomenology, albeit in an updated, modified form. In this sense, being an extended meditation on "between-ness" in all its senses refracted through the lens of phenomenology and critically juxtaposing the works of thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Adrienne Rich, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Michel Foucault, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Martin Heidegger, David Harvey, and Ranajit Guha, in spite of the elaborate structure of its arguments and its familiar density, History, the Human, and the World can be fairly said to have a more cohesive unifying theme and critical agenda than Radhakrishnan's earlier books, and to represent an exciting new phase in his original contribution to postcolonial theory and critical theory generally.


The introduction to History, the Human, and the World Between most importantly serves to not only set up the subsequent three long chapters that make up the bulk of the book, but to explain Radhakrishnan's choice in reemphasising the central importance of phenomenology in his work and worldview. He explains that his attention is now focused on the tension between a series of potentially contradictory and possibly mutually invalidating imperatives: "the need to address a general readership on such broad issues as history, the world, and the predicament of the human subject caught between the past and the present, between knowing and being, between phenomenology and discursive systems, between nature and anthropocentrism, between a potential universality and a world structured in dominance." It is the subject of the "between" that turns his attention to phenomenology as opposed to poststructuralism, and which informs the essays in the book.

Radhakrishnan argues that phenomenology offers a way out of the irreconcilable "theory versus history debates." Proponents of history claim high theory discounts and is incapable of dealing with "real" history, whereas theorists claim that through their "scrupulous and critical attention to the epistemological subject" they have already "taken care of history." Radhakrishnan argues that Edward Said's career can be read as an index of this crisis, particularly his problematic embrace of humanism in the face of an overwhelming poststructuralist critique of its inadequacies. He also cites Ranajit Guha's embrace of Tagore's poetry as an alternative location of the historically real as opposed to the discipline of historiography as another instance of the crisis between theory and history.

As an alternative, Radhakrishnan proposes that "Phenomenology in general opens up exciting possibilities of considering the same phenomenon simultaneously from a variety of discrete but interrelated registers: the political, the aesthetic, the ethical, the individual, and the collective." Phenomenology brings us back to the space in between these binaries or categories, to the space between "the 'I am' and the 'I think' poles of human subjectivity," and he argues that, "the only place in which the human subject dwells is between" different poles, binaries, categories, spaces, identities, imperatives, experiences, and other forms of subjectivity. Radhakrishnan is drawn to phenomenology because it invariably forces the issues, since "it becomes incumbent on the phenomenologically inflected human subject or cogito to raise the issue of its accountability to itself, to existence, and to nature along multiple axes..." A purely poststructuralist methodology is ultimately insufficient because "systems matter and thought matters because life matters and living matters, and not the other way around."

The payoff is that "it is possible for a politically committed and ideologically partisan phenomenologist to make meaningful differentiations, for example, between temporality and historicity and between pre-discursive possibility and discursive or official actuality." Because it opens up this in-between space, "a reconfigured phenomenology has a crucial role to play in the ongoing conversations between history and theory, between objectivism and subjectivism." It is this project of trying to reconfigure and revivify phenomenology, in the context of what he describes as the history-theory stalemate and as a key to the topography of the spaces "in between," that defines the three essays that make up the bulk of the book. For Radhakrishnan, the turn away from poststructuralism, at least to some extent, and towards a reconstructed form of phenomenology suggests the re-opening of foreclosed spaces that define the essence of both individual and collective human subjectivity.[1]

Between Identity and Location: The Politics of Theory[edit]

How can we handle the unevenness between the West and the Rest? How inevitable is the binary logic of winners and losers? How can theory help us resolve our ethical and political problems? Can theory help us think beyond the “winner talks all” model by articulating strong connections between ethics and politics? This major intervention into debates about the postcolonial and the global proposes that theory should embody unevenness. Radhakrishnan’s thought-provoking engagement with theorists and writers from around the world will fascinate readers across a wide range of disciplines.[2]

Theory in an Uneven World[edit]

Theory in an Uneven World, Blackwell 2003. Reprinted in India by Blackwell-Atlantic, 2003.

Diasporic Mediations[edit]

Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location, University of Minnesota Press, 1996.

His first collection of essays, Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location, is, like all of Radhakrishnan's books, a collection of loosely connected essays built around a set of themes. As its title suggests, Diasporic Mediations is most closely associated with the relationship between geographical and cultural location and individual and collective subjectivity. The doubling throughout the essays alternates between home and diaspora, individual and group, self and other, intellectuals and masses, and divided subjectivities in both individuals and collectivities. Radhakrishnan consistently juxtaposes concepts such as "here" and "there," "us" and "them," "self" and "other." Most of the essays in the book deal with aspects of how to reconcile the philosophical and intellectual problems posed by contemporary critical theory, and especially postcolonial theory, with the imperative of remaining an engaged public intellectual and how to negotiate between competing subjective positions both with the self and within affiliational constituencies and communities.

Major Essays[edit]

Towards an Effective Intellectual[edit]

In "Towards an Effective Intellectual," Radhakrishnan challenges the idea that critical theory has lost any ability to connect with practical politics because of the impossibility of representation and the inadmissibility of stable identity categories that can produce coherent constituencies. He begins by suggesting that the Rainbow Coalition and the two Jesse Jackson presidential campaigns of the 1980s demonstrated a practical application of the implications of critical theory about the relationship between the individual and group affiliations, and between identity and difference. Radhakrishnan illustrates his argument mainly by comparing praxis as proposed by Michel Foucault versus that of Antonio Gramsci.

He credits Foucault for championing subjugated knowledges and critiquing the role of intellectuals in reinforcing social stratification, and class and other forms of oppression. However, he agrees with Edward Said that Foucault does not go far enough because he does not interrogate his own position and the broader question of who is speaking as opposed to what is being said. Foucault, he concludes, cannot have a macropolitics because he is attacking his own location as an elite Eurocentric intellectual but cannot be anything other than that; he cannot be working class, subjugated, oppressed or colonised. Radhakrishnan contrasts Foucault's assertion that intellectual and other forms of leadership are by definition invalid and "no more," with the history of organic and "noncoercive" movement leaders whose authentic and mutual connection with constituencies "makes the act of representation genuine and historically real." And, by denying the possibility of representation, Foucault actually forecloses the prospect of "the masses speaking for themselves," or for the actual emergence of subjugated knowledges.

Radhakrishnan argues that while Foucault's "destabilization of the uni-vocal subject remains philosophical" and never becomes political, Gramsci is continuously interrogating the relationship of the individual to the group. Gramsci thereby accords subjugated groups and individuals historical and political agency, although affiliations are always shifting and unstable. It is these shifting, organic political affiliations that for Gramsci permit the emergence of a properly engaged intellectual that can actually represent a real constituency. Indeed, for Gramsci, intellectual engagement is essential to mass politics in any form rather than antithetical to it as Foucault would suggest.

Radhakrishnan, somewhat uncomfortably, ultimately sides more with Gramsci: "the problem faced by an entire range of emerging groups is indeed one of organization." Therefore, leadership and intellectuals are, indeed, required. Nonetheless, he recognises the problem of hegemony such roles entail. Radhakrishnan argues that constituencies can avoid crises of hegemony by recognising, as he says the Rainbow Coalition did, "difference in identity" and "identity in difference." Because any constituency is "made up of heterogeneous elements... that seek common cause," hegemony and political displacement are always potential consequences of this inbuilt contradiction. Radhakrishnan therefore argues that praxis should always be "undertaken in the name of the weakest (the most oppressed) element within the formation." He closes by suggesting that "the most productive question is, How can we read each history or category in terms of the other?," to constantly undermine dominant formations. For this, he suggests “mixing-in” Foucault’s “post-political" critique of representation with Gramsci’s insistence on the need for intellectual praxis and political leadership.

Forthcoming Books[edit]

  • Edward Said: A Dictionary, Blackwell, 2010.
  • When is the Political? A collection of essays.

Books Edited[edit]

Radhakrishnan English-Tamil and Tamil-English Translations[edit]

  • Between Identity and Location: The Cultural Politics of Theory, and Theory in an Uneven World, translated into Tamil, forthcoming, Uyirmai Publishers, Chennai, India.
  • Some People in Some Situations, an English translation of the Sahitya Academy Award (the equivalent of the National Book award) winning Tamil novel by Jayakanthan, forthcoming, Orient Longman, India, Spring 2009.
  • In Tamil: A volume of poems, Negizzchhi Oru Nigazcchi Alla (Moved, but not in Time), Chennai, India, January 2004.
  • A second volume of Radhakrishnan's poems in Tamil is reportedly also in progress.
  • Six translations of Radhakrishnan's Tamil poems into English: :“Today," :"Her Loveliness," :"The Terrorist," :"The Letter," :"Determination," and :"The Word of the Gecko" were published in :Masthead, Issue 10, 2006.

Journals Edited[edit]

Academic honors[edit]

Journal Publications[edit]

Publications (in Books/ Collection of Essays)[edit]

“The State of the Humanities," in a collection on the Humanities, Ed. Mohan Ramanan, India, Spring 2010.

“Heterotopic Sovereignty Ambai's short story, A Kitchen in the corner of a house," in a collection of essays, ed. Sumathi Ramaswamy, Pencraft India, December 2008.

“Is Translation a Mode?" reprint, in 978-0-415-48447-3 Theory after Derrida: essays in critical praxis, eds. Kailash C. Baral and R. Radhakrishnan, Routledge, 2009: 280–301.

“Afterword: Globalization, or the Ontology of Capital,” in Global Babel: Questions of Discourse and Communication in a Time of Globalization, Eds. Samir Dayal and Margueritte Murphy, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007: 321–333.

“Academic Freedom: What is it About?” in a collection, ed. Malini Schueller-Johar, Duke University Press, Summer 2009.

“Afterword: Diasporic Futures,” collection of essays, ed. Parmita Kapadia, Summer 2009.

“The intellectual in the Age of Post-Humanism,” in a collection, Edward Said and Jacques Derrida, eds. Mina Karavantas and Nina Morgan, Spring 2009.

“Revisionism and the Subject of History," in The Postcolonial and the Global, eds. Revathy Krishnaswamy and John Hawley, University of Minnesota Press, Spring 2008: 69–81.

“Edward Said and the Politics of Humanism," in Edward Said: The Call to Freedom, University of California Press, Spring 2010.

“Between Nation and World: Gandhi and Tagore,” in Forms of Knowledge in India: Critical Revaluations, Eds. Suresh Raval et al., Pencraft International, India, 2008: 326–357.

“"Why Translate?" in Ngugi wa Thiong O in the Americas, Ed. Tim Reiss, Fall 2009.

“Teaching Nadine Gordimer's Burger's Daughter," in a MLA collection on the teaching of African Literature in the United States, Ed. Gaurav Desai, MLA publications, Spring 2010.

“Why History, Why Now?" in Colonialism, Modernity, Theory, eds. CT Indira et al., Pencraft India, Fall 2009.

“Alterity, Technology, and Human Nature," in Digital Culture Unplugged: Probing the native cyborg’s multiple locations, Ed. Nalini Rajan, Routledge, 2007: 55–68.

“Indian Culture: And Now A Renaissance,” in A Passage to New India, Eds. V.S. Arunachalam and Ashok Sarath, Center for Study of Science Technology and Policy, Bangalore, India, 2006: 45–46.

“Diaspora, Hybridity, Pedagogy," in Peripheral Centres, Central Peripheries: India and its Diaspora(s), Ed. Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn, with Vera Alexander, Transcultural Anglophone Studies, Volume 1., LIT VERLAG, Berlin, 2006: 113–127.

“Translatability in an Uneven World," in http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?PID=276931 Rethinking Modernity], Eds. Santosh Gupta, Prafulla C. Kar, and Parul Dave Mukherjee, New Delhi: Pencraft International, 2005: 82–89.

“Samskara: A Reading,” in U.R. Ananthamurthy’s Samskara: A Critical Reader, Eds. Kailash C. Baral, D. Venkat Rao, and Sura P. Rath, Pencraft International: New Delhi, 2005: 135–50.

“Ethicizing Economics, or for that matter, any other discourse,” in Postcolinialism meets Economics, eds. Eiman O. Zein-Elabdin and S. Charusheela, Routledge, January 2004, pp. 207–12.

“Conjunctural Identities, Academic Adjacencies," in Orientations: Mapping Studies in the Asian Diaspora, eds. Kandice Chuh and Karen Shimakawa, Duke University Press, 2001, pp. 249–263.

“Aesthetic Truth: Production or ‘Letting Be,” in Maps and Mirrors: Topologies of Art and Politics, ed. Steve Martinot, Northwestern University Press, 2001, pp. 304–318.

“PostModernism and the Rest of the World," in The Pre-Occupation of Post-Colonial Studies, Eds. Fawzia Afzal Khan and Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, Duke U Press, 2000: 37–70.

“Is the Ethnic Authentic in the Diaspora?" in The State of Asian America: Activism and resistance in the 1990s, Ed. Karin Aguilar-San Juan, South End Press, 1994, pp. 219–33. Republished in Defining Travel: Diverse Visions, ed. Susan L. Roberson, University of Mississippi Press, 2001, pp. 200–210, and in Theorizing Diaspora, eds. Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur, Blackwell, pp. 119–31.

“Cultural Theory and the Politics of Location," in Views Beyond the Border Country: Raymond Willians and Cultural Politics, Eds. Leslie G. Roman and Dennis Dworkin, Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1993, pp. 350–53.

“Nationalism, Gender and the Narrative of Identity," in Nationalisms and Sexualities, Eds. Andrew Parker, Doris Sommer, Mary Russo and Patricia Yaeger, Routledge, 1992, pp. 77–95.

“Canonicity and Theory: Toward a Post-Structuralist Pedagogy," in Theory/Pedagogy/Politics, Eds. Donald Morton and Mas'ud Zavarzadeh, University of Illinois Press, 1991, pp. 112–135.

“Toward an effective Intellectual: Foucault or Gramsci?” in Intellectuals: Aesthetics, Politics, Academics, Ed. Bruce Robbins, University of Minnesota Press, 1990, pp. 57–99.

“Post Structuralist Politics: Towards a Theory of Coalition,” in Jameson/Postmodernism/Critique, ed. Douglas Kellener, Maisonnevue Press, 1990, pp. 57–99.

“Negotiating Subject Positions in an Uneven World," in Feminism and Institutions, Ed. Linda Kauffman, Blackwell, 1989, pp. 276–90.

”Feminist Historiography and post-structuralist thought: Intersections and Departures,” in The Difference Within: Feminism and Critical Theory, Eds. Elizabeth Meese and Alice Parker, John Benjamins, 1989, pp. 187–203.

“Reality, the Text, and Post-Modern Representation: A Question in Theory, or Theory in Question,” in Postmodern Fiction: A Bio-bibliographic Guide, Ed. Larry McCafferey, Greenwood Press, 1986, pp. 229–242.

“Ideology Versus 'Ideology': Towards a Post-structuralist Ethic," in Culture/Criticism/Ideology, Proceedings of the Northeastern University Center for Literary Studies, 1986: Volume 4, PP. 75–78.

Specializations and Teaching Interests[edit]

Courses Taught[edit]

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst (Graduate)[edit]

At UC-Irvine (Graduate)[edit]

Cultures of Globalization

Literature, Theory, and the Call of the Other

Translation Theory

Humanism, Posthumanism

Ontology and the Politics of Community

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst (Undergraduate)[edit]

The Modern Novel

The Political Novel

Practical Criticism

Literary Criticism

Madness and Disorder in Literature

Cultural Criticism (Honors)

History of Literary Theory

American Romanticism

What is Minority Literature?

Literature between Worlds

Contemporary Critical Theory


Nation and Narration

Nationalism and Literature

Man and Woman in Literature

Society and Literature (Honors)

The Artist as Intellectual

Courses Taught at UC-Irvine (Undergraduate)[edit]

Literature Between Worlds

Asian American Cultural Theory

Theorizing Diaspora

The Asian American and the African American Novel


Democracy and Minority Discourse

Transnationalism: Race, Gender, Sexuality

Democracy and Minority Politics

Home and Away: Literature, Culture, and Theory

Literature and Nationalism

Aesthetic Theory

Courses and Seminars taught outside the Home Institution[edit]

Theory After Derrida, Summer Critical Theory Faculty Workshop, India, 2005

Edward Said, Humanism, Post-Humanism, Summer Critical Theory Faculty Workshop, India, 2006.

Cosmopolitanism: Kant, Derrida, Gandhi, and Tagore, Summer Critical Theory Workshop, India, 2007.

Postcoloniality and Poststructuralism, graduate seminars, Chennai University, India, July–Dec ’03.

The University as Home, Seminar, Cornell University (Spring 2003)

Narrative as Negotiation, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (Spring 1990)

Dissertation Direction[edit]

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst[edit]

Director of eight completed dissertations so far and currently directing other doctoral theses. Two of the dissertations completed under his supervision have been published: The Oppositional Criticisms of Frank Lentricchia and Edward Said (Xu Ben), Peter Lang, 1992, and Teaching the Postmodern (Brenda Marshall), Routledge, 1992.

Committee member for over 50 doctoral thesis candidates from the following departments: English, Comparative Literature, German, Communication Studies, School of Management, Political Science, Economics, Anthropology, and the School of Education. Also member of doctoral committees of students from other universities: national and international.

At UC-Irvine[edit]

Member of 15 doctoral and pre-doctoral committees of students from English, French, East Asian Studies, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and Film and Visual Studies. Currently directing two doctoral dissertations.

Committee Experience[edit]

Chair, Placement Committee, Department of English, 2009–

Placement Officer, department of English, 2009–

Chair, Asian American Studies, 2004–06.

Co-chair, with Gabrielle Schwaab, Senior Postcolonial Theorist Search Committee, Department of Comparative Literature, UC-Irvine, 2005–06.

Curriculum Committee, Asian American Studies, 2004–08.

Core Committee, Critical Theory Emphasis, UC-Irvine, 2004–07.

Advisory Committee, International Center for Translation Studies, UC-Irvine.

Steering Committee, African American Studies Program, UC-Irvine.

Member, Search Committee, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2003–04

Fulbright International Program, Selection Committee, 2003–04.

Member, Faculty Senate Councils for General Education and Graduate Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Spring 2002–

Member, Massachusetts Cultural Council Literature Panel.

Advisory Board, South-Asian Young Writers Program, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1999–

Advisory Board, Asian-American Certificate Program, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1999–

Search Committee, English Department, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, Fall 2000

Chair, Search Committee, English Department, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1992–1993.

Personnel Committee, English Department, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1991–1993.

Graduate Studies Committee, English Department, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1987–1989.

Search Committee, English Department, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1985–87.

The Provost Committee for University Lectures, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst 1987–88.

Planning Committee and Advisory Board, Center for the study of Contemporary Culture, Search Committee, English Department, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1986–90.

Professional Honors and Experience[edit]

Interviewed in Tamil on JAYA TV, Chennai, 4 Sep.

Chair, Selection Committee for the Adjudication of Book Awards in Asian American Cultural Studies.

Member, Advisory Board, SPARROW, a feminist-activist cultural organisation based in Mumbai, India.

Founding member, with Professor Ananta Giri of the Madras Institute of Development Studies of the Group for Research in Emerging Epistemologies.

Member, Advisory Board, The South Asian Secular Humanist Project, Department of Asia-Pacific Studies and the Project for Peace Initiatives, Chennai University, India.

Resource Person for a number of US Education Foundation in India conferences and Workshops in India, July–December 2003.

Member of two National Committees in charge of selecting visiting Fulbright scholars and teachers, 2003.

Advisory Board, Viewing Race, The National Resources Video Project, 1997–2000.

Advisory Board, Massachusetts Council for the Arts.

Nominated to the MLA Executive Council.

Editorial board: boundary 2, jouvert, Culture and Communication, The Boston Politics and Culture Group, Desi Scenes: Journal of South Asian Cinema, Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Feminist Thought, and Journal of Contemporary Thought, Modern Fiction Studies, Cross-Roads.

Member of the Delegate Assembly, MLA.

Nominating Committee, Society for the Study of Narrative Literature.

Referee: PMLA College English, College Literature, Focuses, Signs, MELUS, and boundary 2.

Interviewed on Radio Bandung on "Meaning of Black in Political Coalitions.”

Regular Reader and Consultant for the following Presses: Blackwell, Cambridge, Oxford, Duke University, University of Minnesota, SUNY, University of California, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Massachusetts, the National Research Council of Canada, ACLS, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, University of Mississippi and the University of Virginia.

Featured Interview in CONTACT: A University of Massachusetts Publication.

External Referee for more than 50 Tenure and Promotion Cases.

Membership and Professional Associations[edit]

Modern Language Association

Society for Critical Exchange

International Association for Philosophy and Literature

Group for the study of Colonial Discourse

Society for the study of Narrative Literature

Teachers for a Democratic Culture

Association of Asian American Studies

American Comparative Literature Association


  • Poems in a number of Indian journals and magazines and anthologies in India.
  • Radio and Television appearances: Numerous Poetry Readings, Doordarshan and All India Radio.


  • Edited an abridged version of George Eliot's Silas Marner, with introduction and Notes, Orient Longmans, 1976.[3]

Papers and Talks[edit]

  • Lecture workshop on Aesthetic theory, the Summer School of the Theory-Praxis Institute, Pune, India, July 2010.
  • Lecture, Department of English, SUNY-Buffalo, Spring 2010.
  • Keynote lecture at the Conference on Global Knowledges, University of Wisconsin-Madison, February 2010.
  • "Re-reading the Sonia Sotomayor controversy," plenary lecture at the International conference on Race, Gender, and Sexuality, Trivandrum, India, December 2009.
  • Lecture, "The Knowledge Game: Who is Playing Whom?” CSTEP-Bangalore, India, September 2009.
  • Lecture on "The Return of the Simulacrum," Asian School of Journalism, Chennai, India, August 2009.
  • Inaugural address, Department of English, Madras Christian College, Chennai, India, August 2009.
  • Keynote lecture, "Should the World be Home? A Postcolonial Perspective?" Organization for Studies in Literature and Environment, Chennai, India, August 2009.
  • "Dalit Literature and the Problem of the Aesthetic," Loyola College, Chennai, India, August 2009.
  • Keynote lecture, Annual World Tamil Conference, University of Toronto, Canada, May 2009
  • Keynote address, "Rethinking New-ness," The Dutch Art Institute, Amsterdam, April 2009.
  • Plenary lecture at the Annual American Association of Commonwealth Literature, Texas, April 2009.
  • Lecture and doctoral workshop on Humanism and Post-humanism, University of Trento, Trento, Italy, September 2008.
  • Public Lecture and colloquia on Postcoloniality, Theory, and Comparative Literature, and Translation Studies, University of Hyderabad, India, 8 Aug.
  • Public lecture and colloquia on Globalization, the Intellectual, and the Nation State, CSTEP, Bangalore, India, August 2008.
  • Public lecture and workshops on History, Theory, and Revisionism at MS University, Baroda, India, August 2008.
  • Lectures on Perception, Self reflexivity, and media studies at the Asian School of Journalism, Chennai, India, July 2008.
  • Faculty panel on Interdisciplinary research, organised by graduate students, Calit 2, UC Irvine, Spring 2008.
  • Public Lectures on "History, Revisionism, and the Human Subject," Athens University, Greece, March 2008.
  • "Heteropic Sovereignty in Ambai's short story, A kitchen in the corner of a house," Plenary lecture at the International conference on Contested Spaces, Goa, India, December 2007, India.
  • "Edward Said's Literary Humanism," and workshop with English and Comparative Literature graduate students, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, September 2007.
  • "Freedom: Can it be about anything,” Cultural Studies Conference, Portland, Oregon, April 2007.
  • “Grievable Life, Accountable Theory,” Department of English, SUNY-Binghamton, April 2007.
  • “Between Living and Telling: Ethnicity in an Age of Transnationalism,” MLA Forum Talk, MLA Convention, Philadelphia, December 2006.
  • Panelist, “Secularism and Minority Rights,” MLA Convention, Philadelphia. December 2006
  • “The Pragmatics of Reason: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore," Plenary lecture at the Annual Conference of Critical Theory, Udaipur, India, December 2006.
  • Keynote lecture at the Annual Conference of the American Commonwealth Literature Association, "Perilous Life and Liveable Theory," University of Santa Clara, CA, October 2006.
  • Core Faculty Person, The Annual Critical Theory National Workshop, Gopalpur on the sea, Orissa, India, July 2006.
  • Public Lecture, "Theory, Contingency, and the Human Subject," Gopalpur on the sea, Orissa, India, July 2006.
  • "The Alterity Effect: Media Studies, Visuality, and the Ethics of Professionalism,” South Asian Institute of Media Journalism, Chennai, India, July 2006.
  • "Between Living and Telling: The Problems of Interdisciplinary Scholarship in the Humanities,” Critical Theory Institute, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, July 2006.
  • Plenary talk on Humanism and Post-Humanism at the Annual Comparative Literature Conference, Princeton, April 2006.
  • "Race and Double Consciousness," at the Annual Asian American Studies Conference, Atlanta, March 2006.
  • "History, the Human, and the World Between," Plenary lecture at the University of Pennsylvania conference on Intellectuals and Disciplinarity, April 2005.
  • "Theory as Hybridity," at the UCLA conference on Creolized Theory, May 2006.
  • "History, the Human, and the World Between," Plenary Lecture at the Annual Critical Theory Conference, Mangalore, India, December 2006.
  • "History, the Human, and the World Between," Department of English and South Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, November 2005.
  • "Edward Said and the Politics of Humanism," Department of English, University of Indiana, Pennsylvania, November 2005.
  • Core Faculty Person at the First Summer Session of India's School of Criticism and Theory, and taught a course, "Theory After Derrida," the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India, August 2005.
  • Lectures on Postcoloniality, Poststructuralism, and Critical Theory, Department of English, University of Hyderabad, India, August 2005.
  • "Technology, Alterity, and Simulacral Ethics," Asian School of Journalism, Chennai, India, August 2005.
  • Globalization, or the Ontology of Capital," keynote lecture at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst conference on, Theory in an Uneven World, April 2005.
  • "Theory after Derrida," Plenary lecture at the International Critical Theory Conference, Visakhapatnam, India, December 2004.
  • Talks, seminars, and workshops at Ethiraj College, Madras Christian College, Vaishnav College[disambiguation needed], Madras Institute of Development Studies, the Asia College of Journalism, Departments of Philosophy and Asia-Pacific Studies, Madras University, July–December 2003.
  • Lectures on Critical Theory and Cultural Studies at the Central Institute of English as Foreign Language, Shillong, Meghalaya, India, 2004.
  • Series of lectures on Poststructuralism and Postcoloniality at the Forum for Contemporary Critical Theory, M.S. University, Baroda, India, 2004.
  • Keynote lecture, "Translation: or to be in love with two languages,” The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, 2004.
  • Keynote lecture, "Olympics in an Uneven World," at the Fulbright Conference in Athens, Greece, 2004.
  • "Globalization, or the Ontology of Capital," University of Cyprus, 2004.
  • "Why History, Why Now?" Keynote lecture at the Conference on History and Theory, University of Ankara, Turkey, 2004. at Conferences in Chennai (India), Ankara and Istanbul (Turkey), and Athens (Greece), 2003–04.
  • Keynote lecture, "Why History, Why Now?" at the International Conference on Re-thinking Modernity, Jaipur, India, 15–17 Dec.
  • Talks and workshops at a number of Centers and Universities in India (Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Jodhpur, and Jaipur) July-3 Dec.
  • "Revisionism and the Object of History," at the TRAUMA AND HISTORY conference, University of Washington, Seattle, 3 June.
  • "Theory in an Uneven World," and "Pedagogies of Immanence," English Department, and the Rockefeller Center, Dartmouth College, 3 May.
  • "Teaching the Diaspora," Conference on the South Asian Diaspora, UCLA, May '03.
  • Lecture, "Pedagogies of the Diaspora," English Department, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, April '03
  • Keynote speaker at the Annual Graduate Student Conference on Literature and Literary Theory, University of Toronto, Canada, April 2003.
  • "Theory in an Uneven World," English Department, Florida State University, Tallahassee, April '03.
  • Lecture, "The Ethical Dilemma of the Postcolonial Intellectual," SUNY-Fredonia, Spring 2003.
  • "Ethics, Double-consciousness, and the Post-Colonial Intellectual," Humanities Institute, University of Minnesota, 3 March.
  • "American Citizenship after 9/11," Public lecture, University of Trent, Italy, 3 March.
  • "Theory as Ethical Dilemma," International Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison, March '03.
  • Graduate Workshop on Post-nationalism and Postcoloniality, English Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, March '03.
  • Poetry readings (my recent Tamil poems), Departments of South Asian Studies, UCLA and the University of Madison, Wisconsin, Spring '03.
  • Classroom workshop on Postcoloniality and Post-nationalism, University of Trent, Italy, 3 March.
  • Lecture, "Diaspora, Hybridity, and Pedagogy," Department of English and the Center for Latino and Latin-American Studies, Syracuse University, December 2002.
  • "Theory in an Uneven World," and "The Use and Abuse of Multiculturalism" The Society for the Humanities Public Lecture, and Seminar, Cornell University, October 2002.
  • Lecture, "Theory in an Uneven World," Department of English, University of Southern California, October 2002.
  • Lecture, "Theory in an Uneven World," Department of English, Queen's College, Ontario, Canada, Fall 2002
  • Lecture, "The Return of Ontology after 9/11," Dartmouth College boundary 2 conference, November 2002.
  • Lecture, "Theory in an Uneven World," Department of English, Columbia University, November 2002.
  • "Diaspora, Pedagogy, Hybridity," plenary lecture at the Conference on Anglophone Literatures: Centers and Peripheries, Saarbrücken, Germany, August 2002.
  • Lecture on "The Diaspora," The Humanities Institute, Cornell University, Spring 2002
  • Lecture on "Multiculturalism and the Aesthetics of Hybridity, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University, Spring 2002.
  • Lecture, Department of Cultural Studies, Carnegie Mellon University, Spring 2002.
  • Lecture, "The Use and Abuse of Multiculturalism," Departments of English and South Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, April 2002.
  • Plenary Lecture, "Translations between and within Worlds," University of Hawaii, East-West Center, April 2002.
  • Forum on Feminist Studies and Pedagogy, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA, December 2001.
  • Dialogue on Cultural Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA, November 2001.
  • Meeting of the Editorial Board of boundary 2, and the Conference on Ralph Ellison. University of Pittsburgh, PA, November 2001.
  • "The Use and Abuse of Multiculturalism," Department of Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, July 2001.
  • "Postcoloniality and Double Consciousness," Triennial Conference on Commonwealth Literature, Canberra, Australia, July 2001.
  • "Globality, Desire and the Politics of Representation," Institute for Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne, Australia, July 2001.
  • "We are the World, but Who are we, and How do we Know?" Department of English, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, July 2001.
  • "South-Asian Youth Culture and Academic Politics", Brown University, May 2001.
  • "Defining Multiculturalism in the Academy", School of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst, May 2001.
  • "When is the Political?" Center for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, April 2001.
  • "The Use and Abuse of Multiculturalism," Keynote lecture at the Borderlands Conference, Department of Communication Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst, March 2001.
  • "Revisiting Intentionality in the Age of Mediatized Production," Lecture at the Institute for Journalism and Media Studies, Chennai, India, January 2001.
  • "Deconstruction and Post-structuralism," Lecture at Stella Maris College, Chennai, India January 2001.
  • "Culture, Globality and Media Studies", Keynote Lecture at Chennai University, English Department, Madras January 2001.
  • "History of Contemporary Critical Theory," Department of English, Madras Christian College, Chennai, India, January 2001.
  • "Hybridity and Representation," English Department Colloquium, University of Massachusetts Amherst, December 2000.
  • "Modernity between Worlds," New Modernisms Seminar, University of Pennsylvania, October 2000.
  • "Adjudicating Hybridity, Coordinating Betweenness," Rethinking Marxism International conference, University of Massachusetts Amherst, September 2000, and the Department of English, University of Pittsburgh, October 2000.
  • "Intellectuality and Academic Activism," Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers, Phillips Academy, Massachusetts, July 2000.
  • "Globality, Desire and the Politics of Representation" Plenary Lecture at the Summer Symposium on Globality, University of Oregon, Eugene, June 2000.
  • "We are the World: Limits of Globality,” Rethinking Marxism International conference, University of Massachusetts Amherst, September 2000, and the Department of English, Northwestern University, May 2000.
  • “Subaltern Representation and Poststructuralist Theory,” UCLA, March 1999.
  • Panelist on Postcolonial theory, MLA, San Francisco, December 1998.
  • “Mapping Asian-American Cultural Topographies,” University of California, Irvine, November 1998.
  • “Theorizing Diaspora, Adjudicating Hybridity,” Colloquium, Department of English, U of Florida, Gainesville, March 1998.
  • “Theorizing Diaspora, Adjudicating Hybridity,” Public Lecture, U of Wisconsin, Madison, March 1998.
  • “Literature and Critical Theory,” Meenakshi College for Women, Madras University, India, January 1998.
  • "What is Postcoloniality?" Madras Christian College, Chennai, India January 1998.
  • "Location, Identity and Nomadology," New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC, January 1998.
  • "The Use and Abuse of Multiculturalism," Colloquium, Center for Literary and Cultural Studies, Harvard University, November 1997.

“Nationalism and After," Colloquium, Department of English, George Mason University, VA, November 1997.

“Conjunctural Identities, Academic Adjacencies," Colloquium, The International Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, October 1996

“Poststructuralism and Postcoloniality: A Relationship,” Dartmouth College, NH, May 1996.

“Global English,” University of Pittsburgh, May 1996.

“Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Theory,” Colloquium, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Maryland, College Park, April 1996.

Respondent and Organizer of 3 panels (under Division 33) on "Postcoloniality and Double-Consciousness," MLA, Chicago, December 1995.

“The Use and Abuse of Multiculturalism," University of New Hampshire, Durham, November 1995.

“Theory, Identity, History," University of Massachusetts Amherst, November 1995.

“Human Rights, Women's Rights: Reading between Nations,” and “Representing Multiculturalism,” Oberlin College, OH, October 1995.

“Subaltern Theory and the Ethics of Persuasion," Conference on Postcoloniality and Psychoanalysis, George Washington University, October 1995.

“What is a Comparison?" University of Massachusetts, Comparative Literature, Fall 1995.

“Postmodernism and Postcoloniality: A Relationship,” Xiamen University, PR of China, August 1995.

“Postcoloniality and Western Theory," International Conference on Literary Theory, Jinan, PR of China, August 1995.

Interviewed by Radio Bandung on "The Meaning of Black in Minority Coalitions," August 1995

“Multiculturalism and Minority Intellectuals," Phillips Academy, MA, July 1995.

“Asian-American studies: A Disciplinary Critique,” University of Washington, Seattle, May 1995.

“South Asian Diaspora and the Politics of Memory," Annual Gandhi Lecture, South Asian Studies, Yale University, Spring 1995.

“Recycling Memory in the Diaspora," International Conference on Recycling Memory, University of Montreal, Canada, February 1995.

Respondent in a special session panel on Salman Rushdie, MLA, San Diego, December 1994.

Panelist on "Diaspora and Postcoloniality," Asian Studies Association Conference, Boston, March 1994.

“Edward Said as Postcolonial Intellectual," special session, MLA, Toronto, December 1993.

“Postcoloniality and the Boundaries of Identity," Department of English, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fall 1993.

“Postcoloniality and the Diaspora," Humanities Center, Wesleyan University, CT., Fall 1993.

“Minority Discourses and the Question of Knowledge," Annual Asian Arts Conference, NY City, Fall 1993.

“Identity, Authenticity, and Cultural Studies," University of Rochester, Department of Comparative Literature, April 1993.

Chief Speaker and workshop leader at the interdisciplinary cultural studies seminar, Department of English, University of New Hampshire, Durham, March 1993.

“Transgression and Constituency in South Asian Cultural Theory," South Asian Studies Conference, University of California, Berkeley, February 1993.

“Postcoloniality and the Boundaries of Identity," Center for the Humanities, Stanford University, February 1993.

Speaker, MLA panel on Teaching South-Asian Literature, December 1992.

Organizer of panel, "Understanding Human Nature: Post-Marxist Epistemologies,” International conference on Rethinking Marxism, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Fall 1992.

Featured Speaker at the Symposium: Beyond Exile: Intellectuals Abroad, Center for 20th Century Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, October 1992.

“The Rhetoric of Authenticity in Emergent Literatures," University of Minnesota, May 1992.

“Cultural Politics and Hybridity," International Association for Philosophy and Literature Conference, University of California, Berkeley, May 1992.

“The Postcolonial Body," at the Conference on Margins and Modernity, Department of Communication Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Spring 1992.

Chair, panel on "Narrative Authorities and the Politics of Location," at the International Conference on Narrative, Vanderbilt University, April 1992. Also presented a paper, "Diaspora, Displacement, and questions of Representation.”

“Postcoloniality as Constituency," Brown University, November 1991.

Speaker at the Wesleyan Research Workshop on Cultural Studies and Pedagogy, November 1991.

“Coalitions in an Academic Context," Phillips Academy, MA, July 1991.

“Nationalism and Postcolonial Identity," English Department, Dartmouth College, Spring 1991.

“Third World Feminisms: India,” Smith College, MA, Spring 1991.

“Postcoloniality and the Internationalization of Cultural Studies," featured talk at the Wesleyan Conference on Postcolonial Cultural Studies, Spring 1991.

“Subaltern Authority and Poststructuralist Epistemology," English Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Spring 1991.

“Representing the Political," and "Pedagogy as Practice," MLA Chicago, December 1990.

“Reading Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines," Department of South Asian Studies, University of Chicago, Fall 1990.

Invited Guest Speaker at the Montclair State College Workshop on Literary Theory, New Jersey, May 1990.

“Signifying Difference: Theory and Cultural Studies,” English and Women’s Studies, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, Spring 1990.

Featured Speaker at the Rutgers-Princeton Conference on Deconstruction and History: “The Subaltern Difference: Postcoloniality and History.” Spring 1990.

“Postmodernism and Postcoloniality,” University of Utah Humanities Center, March 1990.

“Work in Progress," at the Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture, Rutgers University, February 1990.

“Semanticizing the Post-: The Nature of the Future after Marxism," International Marxist Conference, University of Massachusetts Amherst, December 1989.

“The postcolonial intellectual," Wolfe Institute for the Humanities, Brooklyn College, December 1989.

“Literary Theory, Cultural Studies, and the Humanities," University of New Hampshire, Durham, December 1989.

“Subalternity as Methodology," Center for European Studies, Harvard University, December 1989.

“Literary Theory and the Left," University of Massachusetts Amherst, October 1989.

Chaired a panel on India and Ireland, Conference on Nationalisms and Sexualities, Harvard University, June 1989.

Panelist on the Social Production of Knowledge, University of Minnesota, April 1989.

“The Politics of Subject-Positions: Are We all living in the same World?” International Conference on Language and Literature, Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, May 1988.

“Rushdie and the cultural politics of liminality,” International Research Conference on Cultural Hermeneutics: East and West, Center for 20th Century Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, December 1987.

“Towards an effective intellectual: Foucault or Gramsci?” SUNY-Binghamton, November 1987.

“The Epistemics of the Future in the Age of the Post-“International Association for Philosophy and Literature Conference, University of Warwick, England, July 1987.

“Coalitional Theory," Internationalist Socialist Scholars Conference, New York, NY, May 1987.

Featured talk at the International Gramsci Conference, University of Massachusetts Amherst, April 1987.

“Feminist Historiography and Poststructuralist Theory: Intersections and Departures,” Annual Symposium of English and American Literature, University of Alabama, October 86, and at the Popular Culture Conference, Atlanta, April 1986.

“Ethnic Identity and Poststructuralist Difference," Conference on Minority Discourse, University of California, Berkeley, May 1985, and at the MLA Convention, December 1985.

“Theory and Metaphor," University Lecture, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Guest Lecture on Foucault and Critical Theory, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, Spring 1983.

“The Postmodern Event and the End of Logocentrism," Dartmouth College, Fall 1982.

Other Papers and Talks Presented[edit]

“Nationalism and the Narrative of Identity," MLA, Washington DC. December 1989.

“Narrative and the Search for the Real," Conference on Narrative Theory, University of Wisconsin, Madison, April 1989.

“Changing the Subject," English Department Colloquium, University of Massachusetts Amherst, April 1989.

“Liminal Narratives," International Association for Philosophy and Literature Conference, Emory University, Georgia, April 1989.

“Professing Literary Criticism," and "Theorizing Cultural Studies," MLA, New Orleans, December 1988

“Culture as Common Ground: Is Race still an Obstacle?” American Studies Association Convention, Miami, November 1988.

“Aesthetic Truth: Production or ‘Letting be’” International Association for Philosophy and Literature Conference, NotreDame University, Indiana, April 1988.

“Professionalism and the Politics of Subject Positions," and "Opposition and Disciplinarity," MLA, San Francisco, December 1987.

“Ideology Critique: Jameson and Poststructuralism,” International Association for Philosophy and Literature conference, University of Kansas, April 1987.

“Professionalism," English Department Colloquium, University of Massachusetts Amherst, March 1987.

“Canonicity and Poststructuralist Pedagogy," MLA, Chicago, December 1986.

“Ideology versus 'Ideology': Towards a Poststructuralist Ethic," Northeastern University, March 1986.

“Canon versus 'Canon': Towards a Poststructuralist Pedagogy," American Comparative Literature Triennial, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and at the English Department Colloquium, University of Massachusetts Amherst March 1986.

“Ethnic Identity and Poststructuralist Difference," MLA, December 1985.

“The Axiology of Literature and the Value of Identity," Annual Meeting of GRIP (Group for Research on the Institutionalization of the Profession), Miami University, Oxford, OH, and the English Department Colloquium, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1985.

“Utopian Textuality and the Unreal City," International Association for Philosophy and Literature Annual Conference, CUNY, May 1985.

“The Politics of Deconstruction," Conference on the Politics of Literary Adulation, Westchester University, PA, February 1985.


External links[edit]