Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

The Brown-India Seminar Presents: Book Adda featuring Leela Gandhi's The Common Cause

Monday, March 16, 2015

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute
111 Thayer Street

Free admission 

Monday, March 16 at 6:00 p.m. | Joukowsky Forum
Book Adda featuring Leela Gandhi's The Common Cause: Postcolonial Ethics and Democracy, 1900-1955

Toral Gajarawala, New York University
Forrest Gander, Brown University
Kevin McLaughlin, Brown University
Bhrigupati Singh, Brown University 
Akhil Sharma, Rutgers University

Leela Gandhi joined the Brown faculty in 2014 as the John Hawkes Professor of Humanities and English. Gandhi is a literary and cultural theorist whose research and teaching focus on transnational literatures, postcolonial theory and ethics, and the intellectual history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

Her publications include Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (1998), the co-authored,England Through Colonial Eyes in Twentieth Century Fiction (2001), Measures of Home (2000), Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin de Siècle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship (2006). She is currently working on a book length study about the confluence of democracy and ethics at the scene of early twentieth-century anti-colonialism and anti-fascism. She is also the co-author of the academic journal Postcolonial Studies and serves on the editorial board of the electronic journal Postcolonial Text. 


Toral Gajarawala is the Associate Professor of English, Comparative Literature; Graduate Job Placement Coordinator for English at New York University. Toral Gajarawala’s areas of teaching and research include theories of the novel and narrative, postcolonial studies, subaltern studies, and the relationship between aesthetics and politics. Recent essays include “Some Time between Revisionist and Revolutionary: Reading History in Dalit Fiction” (PMLA) and "Fictional Murder and Other Descriptive Deaths" (Journal of Narrative Theory). She is the author of Untouchable Fictions: Literary Realism and the Crisis of Caste (Fordham, 2012). Her current work considers the politics of postmodernism in the context of the Anglophone novel.


Forrest Gander is a writer and translator with degrees in geology and English literature. Concerned largely with the way the self is revised and translated in encounters with the foreign, his book, Core Samples from the World (2011) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His recent translations include Watchword by Pura López Colomé and, with Kyoko Yoshida, Spectacle & Pigsty by Kiwao Nomura, winner of the Best Translated Book Award in 2012. Gander has received awards from the Library of Congress, the Guggenheim, Whiting, NEA and Howard Foundations.


Kevin McLaughlin was named Dean of the Faculty in 2011. He has been the recipient of research grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Program and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. He is the author of three books, Writing in Parts: Imitation and Exchange in 19th-Century Literature (Stanford UP, 1995); Paperwork: Literature and Mass Mediacy in the Age of Paper (U of Penn P, 2005); and Poetic Force: Poetry after Kant (Stanford UP, 2014). McLaughlin is also the co-translator with Howard Eiland of Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project (Harvard UP, 1999).


Akhil Sharma was born in Delhi, India in 1971 and immigrated to the United States in 1979. Mr. Sharma is the author of An Obedient Father, a novel set in Delhi during the period of Rajeev Gandhi’s assassination. An Obedient Father won the Pen-Hemingway prize and has been published in numerous languages. He is also an award winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly as well as a number of other publications. 

Mr. Sharma’s stories have been anthologized three times in Best American Short Stories and twice in The O. Henry Award Winners. In 2007 Mr. Sharma was included in Granta’s list of Best Young American novelists. His new novel, Stars From Another Sky was released on 2012. Akhil Sharma joined the faculty of the Rutgers Newark English Department/MFA Program in Fall, 2011.


Bhrigupati Singh is an Assistant Professor of anthropology at Brown University and a Faculty Fellow at the Watson Institute. Singh completed his PhD in anthropology at John Hopkins University. He has published numerous articles on issues of religion, politics, media and popular culture, and has recently completed a book manuscript titled Poverty and the Quest for Life: Spiritual and Material Striving in Contemporary Rural India (Forthcoming with University of Chicago Press, 2015), and a co-edited volume titled The Ground Between: Anthropological Engagements with Philosophy (Duke University Press, 2014).

More Information

Book Adda

Contact: indiainitiative@brown.edu