10/27/17: Nasia Anam’s “The Migrant as a Colonist: The Logic of Inversion in the Contemporary Dystopian Novel”

“The Migrant as a Colonist: The Logic of Inversion in the Contemporary Dystopian Novel”
A talk by Nasia Anam
Friday, October 27, 4PM-6PM
The Graduate Center, Rm. 5409

As the international War on Terror and recent “migrant crisis” have come to dominate worldwide political conversations, the literature of migration and immigration has begun to reimagine Europe and America with the fantastical pessimism of dystopian fiction. Though a sense of immediacy and urgency marks contemporary rhetoric surrounding the state of global migration, it is imperative to understand this current humanitarian crisis to be inextricably tied to the histories of colonization and decolonization. The mass inward-bound migration of peoples to Europe and America is, in many ways, an inversion of the outward-bound movement of colonization in centuries-past. By imagining the future of the West dominated by migrants as a dystopia, the literary text seems to understand the logic of migration to be that of colonization in reverse. Thus the migrant in these texts figures as a de facto colonizer. This talk shall examine the formal turn in contemporary migrant literature as a symptom of a cultural logic that sees the present crisis to be an equal and opposite dystopian reaction to the centuries-long process of imperial expansion—thereby signaling the very undoing of western civilization.

Nasia Anam is a Postdoctoral Lecturer in the Writing Program at Princeton University. After completing her PhD in Comparative Literature at UCLA, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Williams College. Her current project,Other Cities: Spatializing the Muslim Migrant in the Novel of Immigration, argues that from the post-WWII to the post-9/11 eras, the shifting representation of the Muslim migrant in Anglophone and Francophone literature encapsulates global contemporary anxieties about mobility (traveling, circulating, emigrating) and rootedness (immigrating, settling, colonizing). Her writing and reviews can be found in Contemporaries Post45, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Interventions, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and South Asian History and Culture.

10/21: Rajeswari Sunder Rajan’s “The Novel and its Double: Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence and Indra Sinha’s Khaufpur”

The Novel and its Double: Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence 
and Indra Sinha’s Khaufpur”

A talk by Rajeswari Sunder Rajan

In this project, Rajan explores the implications of the curious fact that two major contemporary novelists, Orhan Pamuk and Indra Sinha, have constructed substantial and significant artifacts in the form of a museum and a website, respectively, as supplement to their novels, The Museum of Innocence (2008) and Animal’s People (2007)

Rajeswari Sunder Rajan is Global Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at New York University. She works in the areas of postcolonial studies, feminist theory, gender, law and religion in South Asia, British Victorian literature and the Anglophone novel in India. Her publications include Real and Imagined Women: Gender, Culture and Postcolonialism, and The Scandal of the State: Women, Law and Citizenship in Postcolonial India and the co-edited volume Crisis of Secularism in India

Friday, October 21, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

365 5th Avenue, Rm. 5414

The Graduate Center, CUNY

“Gilroy After the Black Atlantic: Cosmopolitanism and the Post-Racial Imaginary?”


Friday, March 25       Against Race: Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line

Friday, April 29          Postcolonial Melancholia

Friday, May 13           Darker Than Blue: On the Moral Economics of Black Atlantic Culture

All meetings take place in

Rm. 5414, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

The Graduate Center CUNY

Please RSVP to Mikey Rumore @ mrumore@gradcenter.cuny.edu or Ashna Ali @aali1@gradcenter.cuny.edu to receive Amazon gift cards for the texts.