I come to Kalamazoo after studying film and literary traditions with a comparative approach. This began at a liberal arts college (Washington and Lee) where I majored in English and French and spent my junior year in Paris at the Sorbonne Nouvelle. After working in publishing for two years, I went into a PhD program in French at Indiana University, studying 18th, 19th, and 20th century literature and film. Finally, I moved on to The University of Chicago, where I completed a PhD in English in 2006, followed by a two-year stint as a post-doctoral fellow at UCLA working with British, American, and South Asian cultural productions.
The variety of national contexts I have studied has given me the opportunity to think cross-culturally. Lately, I have been teaching and writing about globalization and empire and their impact on film and literature. We must think beyond simple narratives of oppression and liberation in order to understand the complex historical changes of the 20th and 21st centuries and to recognize the divisions within as well as without social boundaries. Film and literature offer unique insights here because they are internationally circulated commodities as well as cultural productions that can affirm, challenge, and complicate national and global discourses.
We are fortunate at Kalamazoo to be in an environment that fosters interdisciplinarity and cross-cultural inquiry. Here, we can think together about the boundaries that exist in our world and consider the ways in which film and literature can offer ways of building new alliances and practices through empathy and imagination.
My recent publication projects reflect this interest in transnationalism. I have published "Fearing the close-up: the threat of spatial intimacy in Indian cinema of the 1920s (New Delhi: Biblio, 2005) and am undertaking three projects: an article entitled "Empire Films and the dissemination of Americanism," a special issue of the journal, South Asian History and Culture, and a book, Entertaining the Raj: Cinema and the Cultural Intersections of Britain , the United States, and India in the Early Twentieth Century.