Mr. Sayandeb Chowdhury
Assistant Professor , School of Letters
- BA English, St Xavier's College (Calcutta University), 1998.
- MA English, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2000.
M.Phil English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta 2002.
Dissertation title: The Etruscan Politics of the Hieroglyphic Body: Towards a Mythopeotics of the Postcommunist Subject. Advisor: Prof Santanu Biswas.
- PhD, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University. Thesis title: Visualising the City: Photography, Modernity and Calcutta (1850-1950), 2022
- Assistant Professor, School of Liberal Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi. August 2011- July 2017
- Invited to present a series of Lectures as Guest Lecturer on New Theories of Literature at Department of English, Presidency College, Calcutta, between Sept-Oct 2004.
- Full-time Lecturer in English at Charuchandra College, Calcutta University, under West Bengal College Service Commission, from November 2002-June 2003.
- Full-time Lecturer in English at Haldia Government College, Haldia under Public Service Commission Government of West Bengal, from Nov2001-Nov 2002.
- Guest Lecturer in UG English at Jadavpur University, Calcutta from Feb 2001-Nov 2001.
- Guest lecturer at Department of English, Presidency College, Nov 2000-Feb 2001.
- I also had a stint in the cultural media, being a member of the The Bengal Post, Calcutta, The Hindustan Times, Delhi, Daily News and Analysis (DNA), Bombay among others. Since August 2011, I am teaching at AUD.
My Zone / Area of Expertise
AREAS OF TEACHING AND RESEARCH INTEREST
- History and politics of visuality in colonial and postcolonial South Asia.
- Metropolar modernisms in Europe and South Asia
- Urban Culture Studies
- Shakespeare & Adaptation Studies
- · Metropolis and Modernity I (PG)
- · Metropolis and Modernity II (PG)
- · Shakespeare on Screen (PG)
- · Photography: History, Theory, Practice (PG)
- · Literature and Cinema (UG)
- · Modernism in Europe (UG)
2022 marks the sesquicentennial of what can be called the first use of caricature in an Indian daily. Since then, illustrated humour has been a key part of India’s public life - be it cartoons, strips, caricature or graphic storytelling. But its long and rich life has not been substantively archived. This project, under the aegis of AUD, systematically digitized and annotated a part of the vast visual history of illustrated humour in Bengal. Populated with rare images and a substantive overview essay, the website provides a robust insight into the history of caricature and illustrative narrative in Bengal. It can be called a digital archive, a public history resource, and a general corpus on the subject, and is the first of its kind in India. For more information, please see http://humourinbengal.info/
My first monograph Uttam kumar: A Life in Cinema has been published by Bloomsbury Academic in August 2021, bringing together my interest in popular culture, Bengali cinema and star studies. This book-length study on the life, cinema and afterlife of Bengali actor Uttam Kumar is not a biography of a matinee idol. Rather, it is primarily a contextual and intellectual history of Uttam Kumar’s cinema. It is also an exploration and interrogation of the star-persona in reconstituting the bhadrolok Bengali visual cultural world in the post-Partition period. Though the book is aimed as a serious work of cultural history, it is written for a wider readership.
More about the book can be found at
- Caricaturing the Calcutta kind, or, how to listen to colonial laughter, a conversation with Abeer Gupta, Ambedkar University Delhi, March 25, 2022.
- Nayoker Bhumikai (The hero in Bengali cinema), panel, Jharkhand Literary Meet, Ranchi, March 6.
- Uttam Kumar: A Life in Cinema, a conversation with Arka Das, Waypoint Café, January 02, 2022.
- Writing the Visual: On Forms that are Best Seen, webinar,
- Centre for Writing Studies, Jindal Global University on May 29, 2020.
- Bengal’s post-Partition imaginary, or the enchantments of a screen bhadrolok, a talk at Centre for Studies in Developing Society (CSDS) Delhi, March 6, 2020.
- On Satyajit Ray’s Nayak, a talk at Habitat Film Appreciation Forum at India Habitat Centre, Delhi, August 14, 2018.
- Reading Literature, four lectures, Refresher Course in English, UGC HRD Centre, University of North Bengal, January 17 & 18, 2018.
- New Theories of Literature, lecture series, Department of English, Presidency College, Calcutta, Sept-Oct 2004.
- Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow to UK in 2016.
- Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) Research Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), University of Leiden, the Netherlands from April-July, 2015.
- University Research Fellow (URF) at the Department of English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta between January and November 2001.
- ‘Aesthetic enclosure and insurgent critique in Ray’s fantasy fables’ in Cafe Dissensus Journal 58 (Satyajit Ray Special Issue). Ed. Roshni Sengupta; May 2021.
- ‘Bollywood's Propaganda Wheels Have Been Set in Motion’, Economic and Political Weekly [EPW] 54:21. Published online May 21, 2019.
- ‘A postcolonial iconi-city: Re-reading Uttam Kumar’s cinema as metropolar melodrama’, Journal of South Asian History and Culture [Bengali Cinema: Star Texts, Genre, Tropes] 8:2:171-185; Routledge, Taylor & Francis. 2017. Print. ISBN 194724987. DOI: 10.1080/19472498.2017.1304090
- ‘The Indian Partition and the Making of New Scopic Regime in Bengali Cinema’, European Journal of English Studies. [Spl Issue Poetics and Partition]. 19.3:255-270. Routledge/Taylor & Francis. 2016. Print. ISSN 1382-5577. DOI: 10.1080/13825577.2015.1091220
- ‘The Irrepressible city of Modernity’, [Review of Tanika Sarkar and Sekhar Bandyopadhyay (ed) Calcutta: The Stormy Decades, New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2015] Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), 51:20, 14 May, 2016, pp 28-31
- ‘The Endangered City in Rituparno Ghosh’s Early Cinema of Confinement’, Journal of South Asian History and Culture, 6:2. Pg 277-289. 2015. Routledge Taylor & Francis. ISBN 194724987: Print.
- ‘Ageless Hero, Sexless Man: A Possible Pre-History and Three Hypotheses On Satyajit Ray’s Feluda’, South Asia Review, [Satyajit Ray Special Issue]. 36.1:109-130. Routledge/Taylor & Francis. 2015. Print. ISSN 0275-9527.
- ‘The Heroic Laughter of Modernity: The Life, Cinema and Afterlife of Bengali matinee idol Uttam Kumar’, Film International. 10:04/05:82-91; Intellect, London. 2012. Print. ISSN 1651-6826. DOI: 10.1386/fint.10.4-5.82_1
- ‘The Spectral Coloniality of Calcutta’s Ochterlony’, in Henco Bekkering, Adèle Esposito, Charles Goldblum (Ed) Ideas of the City in Asian Settings; Ch 2: 45-80. Amsterdam University Press, 2019. ISBN 9789462985612.
- ‘The Indiscreet Charms of Spatial Ugliness: An Enquiry into a (Post)-colonial City’, in Ela Przybylo and Sara Rodrigues (Ed) On the Politics of Ugliness, Ch 8: 171-192; Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. ISBN 9783319767826.
- ‘In Shakespeare’s Do We Trust?’ (co-authored with Zehra Mehdi) in Salman Akhtar (Ed) Mistrust: Developmental, Cultural, and Clinical Realms; Ch 5, pp 83-106; Karnac Books/Routledge, London. 2017. ISBN 9781782204886.
- ‘Le pont sur le fleuve Hooghly: Modernité, Mobilité, Visualité’ [Bridge over river Hooghly: Modernity, mobility, visuality] in Tatiana Debroux, Yannick Vanhaelen, Judith le Maire (Ed) L'entrée en ville: Aménager, Expérimenter, Représenter; Ch 8, pp 131-145; Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles. 2017. ISBN 9782800416168.
- ‘Unveiling the Anthropo(s)cene: Burning Seas, Cinema of Mourning and the Globalisation of Apocalypse’, in Charlotte Mathieson (Ed) Sea Narratives: Cultural Responses to the Sea 1600-Present; Ch 9, pp 217-238. Palgrave Macmillan, London. 2016. ISBN 978-1-137-58115-0 (Print). 978-1-137-58116-7 (ebk)
In Vogue: Lessons from a screen cosmopolitan’, in Visual Entanglements in Bengali film: Landscapes, moments and contemporary motifs; (Ed) Roshni Sengupta. (Forthcoming. Details awaited.)
The Slapstick State: Loss and Recovery of a Political Language in India of the Present’ (with Baidik Bhattacharya) in Walking with the Enemy: Reclaiming the Language of Power and Manipulation in the Post-Truth Era, Ed: Gediminas Gasparavicius, Maia Toteva, Tom Williams. (Forthcoming. Details awaited.)
CULTURAL PRESS / BOOK REVIEW
- A Legendary Legacy’ [Review of 3 Rays: Stories from Satyajit Ray, PRH, 2021], Biblio: A Review of Books, 26: 10-12 (Oct-Dec, 2021) pp 22-23.
- ‘A Divine Version of Ourselves’ [Review of Reza Aslan’s God: A Human History, Bantam Press/PRHI 2017]. Biblio: A Review of Books, XXIII:10–12 (Oct - Dec, 2018). P 38
- ‘The Contradictory Bengali’ [Review of Sudeep Chakravarti’s The Bengalis: A Portrait of a Community, Aleph Book Company, 2017 & Parimal Ghosh’s What Happened to the Bhadrolok; Primus Books, 2016]. Biblio: A Review of Books, XXIII: 1-3 (Jan-Mar, 2018). P 32-33
- ‘The flaneur outpaces a tram’ [Review of Kushanava Choudhury’s The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta, Bloomsbury, 2017] Outlook Magazine, Issue dated October 8, 2017.
- ‘The Fifties Moment’ [Review of Aarti Wani’s The Fantasy of Modernity: Romantic Love in Bombay Cinema of the 1950s, Cambridge University Press, 2016]. Biblio: A Review of Books, XXI:4 (Apr, 2016). P 20.
- ‘14, Zakaria Street’ [Review of Kunal Basu’s Kalkatta, Picador India 2015]. Biblio: A Review of Books, XXI:1-3 (Jan-Mar 2016). P 35.
- Crucible of intellect’ [Review of Patriots, Poets and Prisoners: Selections from Ramananda Chatterjee’s The Modern Review 1907-1947, HarperCollins 2016] Outlook Magazine LVI: 41, p 88. October 17, 2016.
- ‘The Shame Is Squarely On Them’ [Review of Taslima Nasreen’s Exile, Penguin/Hamish Hamilton 2016]. Outlook Magazine, Issue dated 12 December, 2016.
- ‘The Family and the City’ [Review of Chandak Sengupta’s The Rays Before Satyajit: Creativity and Modernity in Colonial India, OUP, 2016]. Biblio: A Review of Books, XX1:12 (Dec 2016). P 23.
- ‘Passing Through the Popular’ [Review of Baradwaj Rangan, Dispatches from the Wall Corner: A Journey through Indian Cinema, Tranquebar, 2014], Biblio: A Review of Books, XIX:11-12 (Nov-Dec 2014). P 32
- All Fall Down’ [Review of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing, Penguin India, 2010] Biblio: A Review of Books; XV:5-6 (May-June 2010)..
CULTURAL PRESS / CINEMA (SELECTED)
- ‘In Search of a Gestalt in Ray’s Cinema’, Critical Collective, May Issue (Satyajit Ray Centenary).
- ‘The Enigma of Arrival’ (Part 1) & ‘Between a popular star and a keeper of everyday conscience’ (Part II), Critical Collective, Sept & Oct 2020.
- ‘Uttam Kumar and Intimations of Immortality’, The Hindu, July 24.
- 13. ‘Stardust Memories: The Cosmopolitanism of Uttam Kumar and His Era-Defining Cinema’, TheWire.in, published online, July 24, 2017.
- ‘Bengali Cinema is Moribund and Smug in its Comfort Zone’, TheWire.in, published online, June 25, 2016.
- ‘The Man Who Would Be King’, Caravan Magazine, 7/2012; pp 100-105.
- ‘Power to the Bourgeoisie: How the Left left Bengali Cinema’, Caravan Magazine, 12/2011; pp 20-21.
- ‘Screened Out: Why an Appreciation of Bengali auteur Tapan Sinha is Much Overdue’, Caravan Magazine, 04/2009; pp 59-62
- Requiems: Three Movies that Examine Communism in a Revisionist Light’, Caravan Magazine, 10/2009; pp 74-79..
CULTURAL PRESS/POLITICS (SELECTED)
- ‘A letter to Modi voters: If you had called the PM’s bluff, you could have spared India its agonies’ (co-authored with Rajendran Narayan), Scroll.in, June 22, 2021
- ‘A made-in-India shock doctrine, with a little help from Latin America’ (co-authored with Rajendran Narayan), Monthly Review (Online), April 27, 2021.
- ‘Bengal has an impossible choice to make this election’, Indian Express Opinion Pages, March 27, 2020
- ‘Game on in Bengal’, Indian Express Opinion Pages, December 23, 2020
- ‘AAP and the Perils of Politics Beyond Ideology’ TheWire, March 03, 2020.
- ‘The Young Against the New Partition: Why The CAA & NRC Are the Biggest Tests for Independent India’, Indiatimes Online, January 07, 2020.
- ‘Modi's Greatest Trick: Turning Our Deepest Insecurities into A System of Governance’. (co-authored with Rajendran Narayan), Huffington Post, published May 22, 2019.
- ‘The PM as Pracharak’, (co-authored with Rajendran Narayan), TheWire, May 05, 2019.
- ‘No Saffron on the Plate’, (co-authored with Anirban Biswas), Indian Express, March 30, 2019.
- ‘‘Don’t Cry for CPI(M)’, TheWire.in, March 10, 2018.
- ‘The political economy of deceit’, National Herald, September 01, 2017.
- . Why Is the BJP Communalising West Bengal Instead of Offering It Good Governance?’ TheWire, July 6, 2017.
- ‘Mamata takes all’, Indian Express, May 21, 2016.
- ‘The more things remain the same’, Indian Express, April 5, 2016.
CULTURAL PRESS/ART (SELECTED)
- ‘Sights and Sites’, Review of Gauri Gill and Seher Shah’s joint exhibition ‘Ways of Seeing’. Art India Magazine, XIX:II: Quarter II: 2015, p 79-81.
- ‘The City of Continuous Contrasts’, Review of Rathin Mitra’s ‘Calcutta The City I love’ and Clyde Waddell’s ‘A Yank’s Memories of Calcutta’. Art India Magazine, XIX:II: Quarter II: 2015, p 82-84.
- ‘The Final Frontier’, Review of Sebastião Salgado’s exhibition ‘Genesis’ [Natural History Museum, London, April-Sept, 2013] Art India Magazine, XVIII: II, Quarter II, 2014.
- ‘Camera Femina’, Review of ‘Subjects and Spaces: Women in Indian Photography, 1850s to 1950s’. Art India Magazine, XVIII: IV: Quarter IV: 2014, p 88-89.
- ‘A Course of Action’, Report on ACUA Curatorship Programme, Art India Magazine, XVII: II: Quarter II:2013, p 42-43.
- ‘Film Fare’, Review of ‘Project Cinema City’ Exhibition. Art India Magazine, XVII: II: Quarter II: 2013, pp 92-94.
- ‘Between Escape and Entrapment’, Review of ‘Pablo Bartholomew’s Calcutta Diaries’, Art India Magazine, XVII: III: Quarter III: 2013, pp 85-87.
- ‘Shot on Location’, Review of Nemai Ghosh’s exhibition ‘Satyajit Ray and Beyond’, Art India Magazine, XVII: III: Quarter III: 2013, p 82-84.
- ‘The Oddball’s Wondrous Capers’ [Lead piece on the work of Sarnath Banerjee], Special Issue on Graphic Novel. Art India Magazine, XVI: IV: Quarter IV: 2012, p 36-39.
CULTURAL PRESS/ MOTLEY (SELECTED)
- ‘Not Merely a Laughing Matter’, Indian Express, January 24, 2022.
- ‘A brief literary companion to solitude in modern classics for the self-isolated reader’, Scroll, April 05, 2020.
- ‘Mother Tongue, tied’, Business Standard, Opinion Page, May 05, 2018.
- ‘It Ain’t No Revolution’, Indian Express, Edit page, July 24, 2018.
- ‘Being Human is so Yesterday’, Business Standard, Opinion Page, April 8, 2017.
- ‘Finding Forever’, Business Standard, Opinion Page, June 09, 2017.
SUMMER SCHOOL/ FD PROGRAMME
- Attended the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Summer School titled Calcutta: City/Contemporaneity between June 18-29, 2018 at Jadavpur University, Calcutta. The Summer School was co-hosted by Lingnan University, Hong Kong and Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore.
- Attended the UGC-HRD 60th Orientation Programme at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, held from February 17- March 15, 2016.
- Participated in the London Critical Theory Summer School at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, from July 1-July 12th, 2013.
Seminar / Conferences
- Co-planned and co-executed the Graphic Storytelling in India: A Symposium, which involved 25 speakers (including artistes, practitioners, academics and doctoral students) from across India, Germany and the UK. The symposium was co-sponsored by Ambedkar Uuiversity Delhi and hosted by Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Saket, New Delhi and was held from 22-24 November, 2018. Details can be found at http://www.knma.in/graphic-storytelling-india-three-day-symposium-collaboration-ambedkar-university-delhi-0
- Presented the paper A Bridge on River Hugli: Visualities, Regimes, Practices at the International Seminar Entering the city: Spaces, transports, perceptions, and representations from the 18th century to the present. Brussels, Belgium, 15 & 16 October, 2015. Conference hosted by MICM-ARC Research Project & Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. [Sponsored participant]
- Presented the paper Across the Violent Seas: Aparna Sen's Yugant and the Furtive Arrival of Globalisation in Bengali Cinema at the Global Studies Conference, Global Studies Journal & Ambedkar University Delhi, 5-7 September, 2013.
- Presented the paper The Making of Calcutta as a Cinematic City at the Screen International Conference ‘Cosmopolitan Screens’, Glasgow, 28-30th June, 2013. Conference organised by OUP journal Screen and Glasgow University, Scotland.
- Presented the paper Reasons of the State: Communist Politics and Open Society in Bengal at the International Society for Intellectual History Seminar Use and Abuse of Reason, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, 27-31st July, 2004. [Sponsored participant]
- Presented the paper Battala Literature and the History of its Production at the International Book History Seminar, Department of English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, 2004.
- Presented the paper Why Aren’t there no Women in Feluda at the International Seminar Children’s Literature at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, 11-13th December, 2003.
- Presented the paper The Cultural Politics of Battala and the Re-interrogation of Postcolonial Peripheries at the Cultural Studies Workshop, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta & ENRECA Danida & SEPHIS, Shantiniketan, 25–31 January, 2002.
- Presented the paper The disparate signifiers of the Body in Coleridge’s Divine Comedy at the International Seminar Rethinking Romanticism, Department of English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, February 8-9, 2001.
THESIS SUPERVISION | MA DISSERTATION
- Sabarmati Roy (2013), Translation of the first two acts (out of three) of Bijon Bhattacharya’s Nabanno (with Introduction, brief history and notes).
- Maitreyi Halder (2013), Translation of Jyotirindra Moitra’s Modhubongshir Goli (with Introduction, brief history and notes).
- Sushrut Bhatia (2014), Borders, Balkans and the Motif of the Epic Voyage in Theo Angelopoulos’ Ulysses’ Gaze (1995) and Eternity and a Day (1998).
- Sayantani Saha, (2014), Crossing the Maze: Examining the Functions and Mechanisms of Magic in Bengali fairy tales.
- Parushi Ruhil (2016), Road Narratives: An Escape from American society or the conservation of it?
- Bhanu Chaudhary (2017), The New Politics of the popular: Representation and cultural dissemination in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black.
- Hannah E. Mathew (2018), Meursault and Raskolnikov: Towards an archetype of the outsider.
- Swati (2019), Offences of Art: Irreligion in Andres Serrano and Francis Bacon.
- Sushain Ghosh (2020), The Plastic Image in Narrative: Re-reading the Epiphany in James Joyce’s Early Fiction.
- Abhinav Anand (2020), The Spaces of Crime/Punishment in The Trial and The Outsider.
- Vedika Kaushal (2020), The Female Gaze: A Gynocritical Study of Contemporary Indian Photography.
- Aashna Nagpal, (2021), Weary Souls: Boredom and Modernity in Madame Bovary and The Book of Disquiet.
- Banerjee, (2022), Two Bengali films and the idea of Naxalism (tentative title).