TAPAN BASU, Associate Professor, PhD (Delhi)

Tapan Basu
Associate Professor
Telephone No.: +91 9811370350
e-mail: tapankbasu@rediffmail.com
Office No.: 44a, Arts Faculty, North Campus
Preferred Contact Hours : By Appointment

PhD (Delhi, 1997), MPhil (Delhi, 1981), MA (Delhi, 1978), BA (Delhi, 1976).

Biography :

My primary area of academic interest is nineteenth and twentieth century American Literature, proceeding out of my engagement with courses which I enjoyed most during my MA and MPhil Studies at the Department of English, University of Delhi. My enjoyment of courses in American Literature derived, in no small measure, from the pedagogic genius of the legendary professor, Professor A.N. Kaul, under whose tutelage I was introduced to the discipline.

Subsequently however, for my PhD work from the same department, I went beyond the boundaries of the predominantly WASP -male canon of texts, a neo-Matthessenian canon, that had constituted the warp and woof of Professor Kaul’s definition of American Literature, by choosing of focus upon the novels of three now-canonical Black American writers, namely, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin.

From an extended involvement in the study of Black American writings, I have, in more recent years, been drawn into an exploration of the writings of the Indian Dalits. The similarity, in many ways, of the social predicaments of the Indian Dalits and the Black Americans, whose everyday existence in their respective contexts is subject to comparable structures of oppression, has been remarked upon by a host of scholars of social marginality. Likewise, cultural critics have attempted to examine, in juxtaposition with each other, the modes and mores of self-expression of members of these at once disparate but analogous social constituencies. I have been keeping abreast of studies already undertaken in this direction and hope to follow up on them by an investigation into the mutual influences and interactions in the arena of cultural expression that might have brought these constituencies together, from time to time, through their common concerns.

My current intellectual pre-occupation is with the impact on the cultural expression of the erstwhile untouchable communities of India of the Ambedkarite movement in general and in particular of the figure of Dr. Ambedkar himself as a signifier of radical emancipation from caste subordination.

Areas of Interest/research

Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American Literature, Literature of the Black Americans, Dalit Writings, The Cultural Politics of Caste and Communal Identity – Definitions in Contemporary India, Indian Writing in English.

Courses Taught

Studies in American Literature

New Literatures in English

Indian Literature

The Novel in India

Honours, Awards, Appointments

Felicitated as Distinguished Teacher by the University of Delhi, 2009

Ferguson Fellow at Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, the Open University, Milton Keynes, U.K., September, 2006 to August, 2007

South Asian Regional Fellow of Social Science Research Council, New York, May 2006 to August, 2006

Coordinator for Research Project on Globalisation, Identity Politics and Social Conflict (GIPSC) funded jointly by the British Academy, London and the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, the Open University, Milton Keynes, U.K., 2001-2004.

Visiting Fellow at the Department of English, Yale University, under the Fulbright Scholarship Program, September 1988 to June 1989.

Member of the faculty at the Department of English, Hindu College, Delhi, October, 1981 to October, 2010.

UGC Junior Research Fellow, 1979-1980.

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