Anjali Prabhu

Anjali Prabhu
(781) 283-2495
B.A., Jawaharlal Nehru University (India); M.A., Purdue University; Ph.D., Duke University

Anjali Prabhu

Margaret E. Deffenbaugh and LeRoy T. Carlson Professor in Comparative Literary Studies

Theories dealing with race and inequity, the global 18th century, African, cinema, colonial & postcolonial, French & Francophone, Indian Ocean and Caribbean studies.

Since my doctoral work, I have been particularly interested in the relationship between French and British colonialism and their imbrication, even if conflictual, with indigenous and/or non-European cultures in Africa, the Caribbean islands, the Indian Ocean islands, and, more recently, in South India.

At the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities, which I directed from 2015 to 2018, I was involved in a range of scholarly, artistic, and administrative projects with a particular focus on postcolonialism, South Asia studies, critical race studies, and the humanities and liberal arts. My scholarship is interdisciplinary in material and method, and I devote substantial time in my professional life to anonymous review in the humanities (as an author, an editor, and a reviewer). I investigate humanistic methods of inquiry to understand how they are unique and when and how they can gain from and contribute to social science and other more distant disciplinary methods. I enjoy sharing these ideas with students and I always learn something new about my research and myself in my classes. All my projects have benefitted greatly from my student assistants, with many of whom I enjoy lifelong friendships.

I have taught courses in French, Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media Studies, the Writing Program, the First Year Seminar program, and have offered several Extra-Departmental courses. I have also taught a course cross-listed with Harvard. In general, I am excited to think with my students about questions of historical inequality, the conception of "difference," (in particular "race" as an historical category), the ideas of "self" and "other" in a range of texts, contexts, and situations, and to look for how within visible and invisible forms we can identify or create methods of knowing. I especially enjoy working with students on their independent research and as they prepare their final projects in classes.

Beyond Wellesley, I have served extensively in the Modern Language AssociationEditorial Boards on which I have served or do serve are those of: PMLA, Research in African Literatures, The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, and the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy.

I am excited about learning new things -- new languages, in particular, even as I regret not having had the circumstance where a single language could register as a “mother tongue.” I have studied, and have varying levels of competency in, English, French, German, Spanish, Hindi, Tamil, Russian, Japanese, Sanskrit, Mauritian and Martinican Creoles, and Latin at various times in my life and I speak a few others without having endeavored to read or write them. I have worked with original texts in five of these languages. Most recently, I have been studying Persian to better understand India in the global eighteenth-century context for my forthcoming work.

I enjoy reconnecting with the languages and rhythms of cities that have been my home in different countries, on different continents. I love experimenting with cooking to reflect my experiences and the confluence of different traditions and cultures in my family. I mentor young people in a number of contexts. I do design projects (clothes and décor) and find time for practicing karate, incorporating exercise into my daily activities (often to the amusement of my boys!), gardening, doing some sketching and writing that are not for publishing, and, above all, balancing out the fire of the mind, body, and spirit!


Contemporary Cinema of Africa and The Diaspora     Hybridity: Limits, Transformations, Prospects