Mrinalini Chakravorty

Associate Professor of English, Director of Modern and Global Studies

Department of English
416 Bryan Hall
PO Box 400121
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4121


My research and teaching interests include postcolonial literature and film, studies of race, gender, and sexuality, and cultural studies.  I am particularly interested in the various theoretical intersections between these areas including but not limited to transnational approaches to the study of literary culture, aesthetic responses to globalization, and modes of minority discourse.

I have recently completed a book entitled In Stereotype: South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary that interrogates a set of commonplaces about hunger, crowdedness, filth, slums, death, migrant flight, out-sourcing and terror that proliferate globally in contemporary Anglophone novels about the Indian subcontinent.  In Stereotype makes the case that such commonplaces about other worlds are crucial to shaping the ethics of global literature. By probing contexts ranging from the independence of the Indian subcontinent, to poverty tourism, civil war, migration, domestic labor, and terrorist radicalism, this book introduces an interpretive lens for reading the ethics of literary representations of cultural and global difference.

I am now working on another book on the cultural politics of hunger, as well as a co-authoring a critical biography of British glam-rock star Freddie Mercury (with Leila Neti of Occidental College).  The Cultural Politics of Hunger situates new global fictions at the crossroads for discerning the imaginative and material charge hunger holds for how we perceive human differences, racial, cultural, gendered, and biopolitical.  In it I argue that a slippery aesthetics of hunger, vacillating between desire and need, provokes urgent reflections on global culture and consumption.

Some Kind of Magic: Freddie Mercury as Postcolonial Performer is situated at the nexus of postcolonial, queer, media, and cultural studies.  This critical biography examines the life and work of rock music icon Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the British glam band Queen, in the social contexts of British colonialism and Thatcherite Britain.