Virtual Seminar with Sangeeta Ray
Rethinking Realism in South Asian Anglophone Fiction
Sangeeta Ray (University of Maryland)
October 14 from 3 to 5 pm (CET)
This discussion will focus on the myriad ways in which contemporary authors from South Asia use, redeploy and reimagine realism even in novels that on the surface seem to repudiate the fundamental claims made by Lukaçs. The talk will also take up the question of peripheral realism, and show that while many novels could be easily incorporated under this rubric, others refute the basic claims made by Joe Cleary in his essay. Rather than rehashing the realism/modernism/postmodernism battle that has consumed postcolonial studies and studies on the global anglophone novel, this seminar will seek to think about the ways in which realism or the realist mode is present in some form even in the most arch modernist and perhaps even postmodernist global South Asian anglophone novel.
Sangeeta Ray is professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland. She has published two books, Engendering India: Woman and Nation in Colonial and Postcolonial Narratives (Duke UP 2000) and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: In other Words (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009). She has co-edited the Companion To Postcolonial Studies (Blackwell, 2000) and the 3 volume Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). Her book, Form Fitted: Postcolonial Aesthetics, Ethics, Politics is forthcoming. She has published widely in key journals, given many talks nationally and internationally. She is the recipient of several grants and serves on the editorial boards of important journals in the field. She has served as President of a few divisions in the MLA, has been the President of the Cultural Studies Association and currently is serving a second term on the supervisory Board of the English Institute. She recently completed her role as President of ACLA and is currently chairing the MLA Russsell Lowe Prize committee. She is currently working on a book tentatively titled South Asian “Refugee” Fiction and Film: The Poetics and Aesthetics of Suffering.
Texts under discussion:
- Ray, Sangeeta. “Bombs and Bomb Makers: Realism, The Association of Small Bombs, and the Post-9/11 Novel”. Studies in the Novel, 53:1 (2021), p.20-35.
- Cleary, Joe. “Realism after Modernism and the Literary World-System”. Modern Language Quarterly, 73:3 (2012), p. 255-68.