Ph.D. University of Chicago, South Asian Languages and Civilizations. 2006
Late Colonial Sublime: Neo-Epics and the End of Romanticism (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2017; recipient of Mellon Foundation Modern Language Initiative Outstanding First Book Prize).
"Modernity" (Sikhism section) in Encyclopedia of Indian Religions, ed. Arvind Sharma (Heidelberg, Germany: Springer Verlag, 2013) 5785 words.
"Uncanny Affinities: A Translation of Iqbal's Preface to Payam-e Mashriq" in Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 15:3 (2013) 437-452.
"Apocalyptic Praxes / Paradoxes of Progress" at lanaturnerjournal.com. Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion, Aug. 2012. Online - 2,653 words.
“The Dialectic of Postmodernism” (Review of Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic), Lana Turner: Journal of Poetry and Opinion, 4: 1 (2011) 69-73.
“Guru Nanak and Rational Civil Theology”, Sikh Formations, 7:2 (2011) 131-143.
“Zero Figurality, or Imperialism and Form” (A Critique of Fredric Jameson’s The Modernist Papers), The Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature, (8:1) (Fall/Spring 2010). Online - 4,349 words.
“The Persistence of Identity”, The Annual of Urdu Studies, vol. 24, 2009, 351-366.
“The Paradoxes of Dalit Cultural Politics” in Anne Feldhaus and Manu Bhagavan (eds.), Claiming Power from Below: Dalits and the Subaltern Question (A Festshrift in Honor of Eleanor Zelliot), Oxford University Press, 2008.
“Patterns in the World of Literature” (A Review of Pascale Casanova’s The World Republic of Letters), Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature, 6.2 (Fall 2007). Online - 3290 words.
Translation from the Urdu of short story "Alleyways" by Balvant Singh in Mehr Farooqi (ed.), Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature (Fiction volume) Oxford University Press, 2007, 111-121.
Translation from the Urdu of short humor piece "The Saviour of Muridpur" by Pitras Bukhari in Mehr Farooqi (ed.), Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature (Poetry and Prose Miscellany volume) Oxford University Press, 2007, 225-235.
Translation from the Urdu of autobiographical writing "Beyond Walls" by Nida Fazli in Mehr Farooqi (ed.), Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature (Poetry and Prose Miscellany volume) Oxford University Press, 2007, 203-210.
Review (“Gandhian Ghostliness”) of Gandhi in His Times and Ours by David Hardiman, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 26.2 (2006) 333-337.
“British Imperial Collapse in Asia” (A Review of Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper’s Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-45), International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter 41 (Summer 2006) 21-22.
“A Bundle of Contradictions: Notes on Identity and Authority in Readings of Iqbal”, Biblio: A Review of Books, vol. 11, March-April 2006, 30-32.
"The Antinomian Prophecy" (A Review of Abid Surti's The Black Book), Biblio: A Review of Books 10.7-8, July-August (2005) 7-8.
"Deciphering the Promise of Tradition" (A Review of Zamiruddin Ahmad's The East Wind and Other Short Stories), The Annual of Urdu Studies, vol. 20 (2005) 264-273.
Review of The Indian Princes and their States by Barbara N. Ramusack in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 25.3 (2005) 689-690.
Review of Kamasutra by Vatsyayana Mallanaga, trans. Wendy Doniger and Sudhir Kakar, Sagar: South Asia Graduate Research Journal 12.1 (Spring 2004) 126-128.
Review of Brahma in the West: Blake and the Oriental Renaissance by David Weir, Chicago South Asia Outreach Newsletter 28.2 (Spring/Summer 2004).
“Place and Shadow: Photographs from a Personal Location,” Chicago South Asia Outreach Newsletter 24.1 (Winter 2000).
“From ‘Indiaspora’” (Photographs), The Red Wheelbarrow (Spring 1997).
Public Presentations and Activities
“The Massive Flow: Brecht and the Fashioning of Post-Colonial Identity in India” at “Literature and Politics: The Princeton Hindi-Urdu Conference 2016,” Princeton University, November 12, 2016.
“Recycling the Folk and Refashioning the Public: Brechtian Epic Theatre in Post-Independence India” on the “Brecht in India” panel at the 15th Symposium of the International Brecht Society (“Recycling Brecht”), Oxford University, June 28, 2016.
“Utility and Culture in British India” at South Asia Symposium, University of California, Santa Cruz, May 19, 2016.
“Francis Bacon in Benares: Competing Teleologies of Utility in British India” on the “Intellectual Labor and the Crisis of Value within the Humanities” Seminar at the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting at Harvard University, March 18, 2016.
“Melancholic Ornament: TV Ramayana, Nostalgia, and Kitsch as Counter-Enlightenment” at the Institute for South Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley, November 2, 2015.
“The Names of Reason: Translation and Historical Time” on Panel 309 “Premodernity and the Problem of the Remnant: Perspectives from South and East Asia” at the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, March 29, 2015.
Faculty Discussant for Panel II at “Polyvocal Hindustan: Literatures, Languages, and Publics” Conference at the Center for South Asia at Stanford University, March 6-7, 2015.
“Veils of the Absolute Subject: Benjamin’s Sublime”, Center for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, October 15, 2014.
Faculty Discussant for Panel VII (Narrative[s]), Feminist Interventions: On Gender and South Asia, South Asia By the Bay Graduate Conference 2014 at UC Santa Cruz, May 2, 2014.
“Passive Revolution in Modern India” on the “Race, Nation, Capital” panel, Crisis in the Cultures of Capitalism Conference, UC Santa Cruz, April 19, 2014.
“Allegorico-Historical Tangent on Conrad’s Lord Jim” at the Dehli University (Main Campus), Department of English, April 7, 2014.
“The Absolute in Benjamin: Language, Name, Translation” at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), Philosophy Colloquium, March 26, 2014.
“Penumbra and Possibility in Chayavad, or Aesthetics of the Semi-Colonial” in “Peripheries and Possibilities: Comparative Perspectives on the Cultural Logics of (Post-)Colonialism in South Asia” Seminar at the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting at New York University, March 21, 2014.
Seminar Leader for “Peripheries and Possibilities: Comparative Perspectives on the Cultural Logics of (Post-) Colonialism in South Asia” at the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting at New York University, March 20-23, 2014.
“Allegorico-Historical Tangent on Conrad’s Lord Jim” on the “Field Imaginaries” roundtable at The Mediterranean and Maritime Perspectives, The Mediterranean Seminar, University of California, Santa Cruz, May 3, 2013.
“Rajinder Singh Bedi as Moral Philosopher / Domesticity as Political Frontier” as The Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Lecture, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia, March 7, 2013.
“Reason in the Vernacular: Deshaja Adhunikata and its Implications” at “Sikhs and Public Space” conference, University of Michigan, December 10, 2011.
“Atmospherics of Imperialism: Benjamin’s Sublime” at “Critical Historical Studies” conference, University of Chicago, December 3, 2011.
Chair for Language and Literature panel at the “Sikh and Punjabi Studies: Achievements and New Directions” conference (with Christopher Shackle), University of California, Santa Cruz, November 11, 2011.
“Anti-Modern Form: The Genesis of the Neo-Epic in Late Colonial India” at the British Sociological Association’s Theory Study Group conference “Rethinking the Modern: Colonialism, Empire, and Slavery”, Birmingham (U.K.), July 11, 2011.
Moderator and discussant for Giancarlo Casale, “What did it mean to be European in the Sixteenth Century?
“Allegorization of Marsiya”, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Freie Universität (Berlin), May 17, 2011.
“Resemblances of Pure Content”, Center for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, April 6, 2011.
“Uncanny Affinities” and “Aftermath of Area Studies”, “Comparison from Calcutta to Kyoto” (mini-conference and roundtable), University of Michigan Departments of Asian Languages and Cultures, and Comparative Literature, February 18, 2011.
“Iqbal and Goethe, or the Sturm und Drang of Late Colonial India”, Berliner Seminar, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, January 26, 2011.
“Sikhism, Translated: Conversation on an Emerging Academic Field”, chair and presenter of roundtable (with Arvind-Pal Mandair, Varuni Bhatia, Harjeet Grewal, Rajdeep Singh Gil) at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) 39th Annual South Asia Conference, October 15, 2010.
Faculty Roundtable (with Eva von Dassow, Simona Sawhney, Tim Brennan, and Cesare Casarino), “Beneath the University, the Commons” Conference, University of Minnesota, April 8, 2010.
“Zero Figurality, or Imperialism and Form”, University of Chicago Social Theory Workshop, October 26, 2009.
“Guru Nanak and Rational Civil Society”, University of California at Santa Cruz, Humanities Division, May 11, 2009.
“Reading Contemporary Historiography: A Discussion of Sartori’s Bengal in Global Concept History” (with Ajay Skaria), at the University of Minnesota South Asia Seminar, February 11, 2009.
“The Aura of Nostalgia: Televisual Mediations of the Ramayana Tradition” at Macalester College, Guest Lecture in Department of Religious Studies, February 6, 2009.
Discussion on “selfhood” (with Ajay Skaria) for the “Historizing the Self Seminar” at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), November 20, 2008.
“Sublimity and Periodization” on the panel “Early/Late Colonial: Conceptualizing Periodization in Indian Historiography” at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) 37th Annual South Asia Conference, October 17, 2008.
“Romanticism Redux: Asian Expressions in the Early Twentieth Century” at Columbia University MEALAC Brown Bag Series, March 5, 2008.
“The New Romantic Sensibility in Late Colonial India: Periodization and the Hermeneutics of Modernity” at University of Minnesota Theorizing Early Modern Societies Workshop, February 8, 2007.
“Liberalism After Empire: Rereading Eric Stokes” (with Professor Ajay Skaria) at the University of Minnesota South Asia Seminar, November 16, 2006.
“The State of the Camp, or Urdu in World Literary Space” on “The Ongoing Mehfil” panel at The 35th Annual Conference on South Asia of the Center for South Asia (University of Wisconsin-Madison), October 21, 2006
“Nirala’s Pasts and a Romantic Sense of the Colonial Present” at the “Global States” graduate student conference of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, May 5, 2006.
“The Sublime and the Ideology of the Epic in Modern India” at the University of Minnesota South Asia Seminar, March 22, 2006.
“Aesthetics, Politics and History” and “Romanticism’s Horizons” at the University of Chicago Social Theory Workshop, January 9, 2006.
“Notes on Identity and Authority in Readings of Iqbal”, on the “Criticism” panel of the University of Chicago conference “Re-Orientations: The Study of the non-West after the Saidian Critique”, February 26, 2005
“Javid Nama, or The Rebirth of the Sublime in Late Colonial India” at the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota, December 9, 2004
“A Discussion of Indian Epics” at Fulbright Hays Seminar Abroad Orientation, Center for South Asia Studies at UC Berkeley, June 23, 2004
“The New Romantic Sensibility in Late Colonial India” at the University of Chicago South Asia Workshop, June 3 2004
“The Modernity Beyond Colonialism in India: An Essay in Historiography” at the University of Chicago Social Theory Workshop, May 10, 2004
“Towards Rumanviyat: Altaf Husain ‘Hali’ and Urdu Romanticism” at Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, on the panel, “Global Theory, Local Critique: Critical Vocabularies in Hindi, Bangla and Urdu”, March 6, 2004
“Political Abjection: The Epic Idiom in Hali’s Musaddas and Gupt’s Bharat-Bharati” at the University of California, Berkeley 19th Annual South Asia Conference, on the panel, “Sites of Memory: Practices and Representations of the Muslim Past”, February 13, 2004
“V.D. Savarkar’s Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?” at the University of Chicago South Asia Outreach Teachers Workshop, June 30, 2003
“Literature and Untouchability, or Dalit Poetic Practice” at the University of Chicago Theory and Practice in South Asia Workshop, February 22, 2001
Academic Honors, Awards and Fellowships
* Faculty Fellow, Institute for Humanities Research, UC Santa Cruz, 2013-2014.
* Fellowship (Europe in the Middle East/Middle East in Europe), Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2010)
* Institute for Advanced Study Research Collaborative Award, University of Minnesota (2010, declined)
* Single-Semester Sabbatical, University of Minnesota (2009)
* McKnight Summer Research Fellowship, University of Minnesota (2007)
* Doolittle-Harrison Fellowship, University of Chicago (2006)
* Norman Wait Harris Award of the Center for International Studies, University of Chicago (2004)
* Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (2004)
* Committee on Southern Asian Studies Dissertation Research Grant (2003)
* American Institute of Indian Studies Language Study Fellowship (2001)
* Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer Language Fellowship (2000)
* University of Chicago Century Fellowship (1998)
* UCSC Chancellor’s Award for B.A. Essay on Indian Nationalism (1997)
* Phi Beta Kappa (1997)
Speaking/Reading/Writing: Urdu/Hindi, Punjabi, French, Spanish
Reading: Sanskrit, old Punjabi, German
Currently studying Persian, Latin, Attic Greek
Dissertation Thesis in SALC: “A Literature of the Sublime in Late Colonial India” (Committee Chair: Professor Sheldon Pollock)
Seminar Paper in History (University of Chicago): “The Geography of Punjab and the Spatiality of Sikhism”
Historical analysis of the emergence of Punjab as specific socio-cultural zone and its intersection with the material spatial practices of Sikhism during a period of colonial crisis (1919-1924), with examination of the importance of allegory in everyday life and critical events
Masters Paper in SALC (University of Chicago): “Dalit Poetic Practice”
Aesthetic, ethical and political analysis of Dalit writing, focusing on the postcolonial period in the context of the long durée of casteism in India, with especial attention on relations of textual production to popular culture and ways of interpreting modern Indian literature in general
B.A. Paper in History (UC Santa Cruz): “Political Imaginary of the Swadeshi Movement: Bengal, 1905-1908” (recipient of the Chancellor’s Award)
Professional Work Experience
Assistant Professor, University of California (Santa Cruz), Department of Literature, Summer 2010-present
Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), Asian Languages and Literatures, Fall 2006-Summer 2010
Director, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), Institute for Global Studies Summer Institute (for K-12 teachers), Summer 2008 (“Worlds of Islam”), Summer 2009 (“Imperialism and Nationalism in Modern Asia”), and Summer 2010 (“India and China Today”)
Predoctoral Research Associate, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), Asian Languages and Literatures, Fall-Spring, 2005-06.
Lecturer, University of Chicago, Fall-Winter, 2003-04, “Readings in World Literature” in the University of Chicago Humanities Undergraduate Core Curriculum. This course introduces undergraduates to the study of humanistic disciplines through the study of different kinds of texts in World Literature.
Lecturer, University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies, Winter 2003, “Ramayana and the Epic Imagination”, a course covering the Valmiki Ramayana in translation alongside selections from later Ramayana tradition, with special focus on theories of the epic form
Lecturer, University of Chicago, Summer 2003, “Introductory Hindi-Urdu”, a course designed to establish mastery of the grammar system of the two languages as well as the devanagari and nastaliq scripts.
Lecturer, University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies, Spring 2003, “Classical Indian Literature and Aesthetics”, a course designed to introduce students to the masterpieces of Indian, especially Sanskrit, literature and aesthetics.
Course Assistant, University of Chicago, Fall 2002, “Introduction to the Civilizations of South Asia” with Professor Sheldon I. Pollock, a course on Classical Indian Literature and Philosophy. Led group discussions with students and graded their work.
Research Assistant, University of Chicago, 2001-02, under Professor Sheldon I. Pollock for the editing of selections for an anthology of Indian literature as part of a multi-volume project on world literature (David Damrosch (ed.), Longman Reader in World Literature).
Teaching Assistant, University of California, Santa Cruz, Fall 1997,“Traditional Histories of India” with Professor Dilip Basu, an introductory course on the literary, cultural and religious texts and practices that have become most central to the notion of tradition in the modern discourse on India. Led group discussions with students and graded their work.
Service and Institutional Activities
Member of the UCSC South Asian Studies Advisory Board, 2014-present
Member of UCSC Center for Cultural Studies Advisory Board, 2016-present
Member of the UCSC Humanities Faculty Development Council, Spring 2016
Member of the UCSC South Asian Studies Advisory Committee, 2015-present
Member of the Advisory Committee for the Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize, 2013-present
Member of the South Asia History Search Committee, University of California, Santa Cruz, Fall 2012
Member of the Committee on Academic Freedom, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2011-12 academic year
Member of Steering Committee, Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center, University of California, Santa Cruz, Spring 2012-2014
Co-organizer (with Michael Ursell) of the 13th Annual Undergraduate Literature Colloquium, University of California, Santa Cruz, Spring 2012
Member of the Punjabi Language hiring committee, University of California, Santa Cruz, Spring quarter 2012
Literature Department Faculty Undergraduate Advisor, University of California, Fall 2011
Editorial Advisory Board, Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory (Routledge), 2010-present
Director of the Institute for Global Studies Intellectual Collective on “Dialectics and Society,” University of Minnesota, 2007-09
Committee member for the Religious Studies Major and participant in the AAR/Teagle Foundation program examining the Role of Religious Studies in the Liberal Arts, 2007.
Co-Director of the South Asia Seminar, University of Minnesota, Fall Semester 2007
Member of the Arts and Humanities Research Committee, University of Minnesota, Fall Semester 2007
Chair of Urdu lecturer search, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota, 2006-07
Occasional member of the Advisory Committee for the Consortium for the Study of the Asias, University of Minnesota, 2006-07