Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty

Deputy Director, Monash Asia Institute
Monash University

Trained in a classical English literary canon at Delhi University, India, my research interests now include postcolonial literatures, literatures of the Indian subcontinent in English and in translation, translation theory and practice, studies in nationalism, feminisms and diasporas, public intellectuals, identity politics, culinary cultures, global Englishes and Bombay cinema. Moving across three continents, from India to Canada and now to Australia, has impressed upon me the critical importance of place and context in any theoretical or definitional categorisation. I have been invited to comment on these issues on ABC Radio National’s Books and Arts Daily and Big Ideas programs.

My recent edited collection of essays, Being Bengali: at home and in the world (Routledge 2014), is an enquiry into the socio-intellectual history of this eclectic linguistic group from Eastern India and Bangladesh. I have also co-edited A Treasury of Bangla Stories (Srishti 1999) and my translations have appeared widely. In 1996, I received an AK Ramanujan Award for the most felicitous translations from two Indian languages, Bangla and Hindi, into English.

Most recently, my work has been in public diplomacy between Australia and India. I have facilitated deep-impact literary and cultural exchanges between Australia and India through Literary Commons! (2014-15), a tri-nation Autumn School in Literary Translation (Kolkata 2013) and ALIF: Australia India Literatures International Forum (Sydney 2012). ALIF was nominated for an Australian Arts in Asia Award by the Honourable Tony Burke, Minister of the Arts and Immigration in 2013.

I completed my doctoral work on “Hotfooting Around Essentialism: Feminisms of Colour” at the University of Alberta, Canada. As a graduate student, I was invited to curate an exhibition on Alberta Women Making History and produced a catalogue for it, The Blue Sky Their Horizon, as also a digital, oral narrative history of academic women at the University of Alberta as part of a special project on Institutionalising Feminism. I was actively involved in public engagement in Edmonton as a Board Member of the Global Visions Film Festival.

I currently serve on the Steering Committee for the Migration, Identity, and Translation Network – a multi-disciplinary network of researchers from across a range of faculties from Monash University and the University of Warwick via the Monash-Warwick Alliance.

Soundbytes:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/booksandarts/features/subcontinent-book-club/

http://www.abc.net.au/arts/blog/barnaby-smith/Literary-Commons-finding-points-of-connection-in-Indian-and-Australian-writing/default.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/booksandarts/the-rise-of-hinglish-in-india/4343368

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/indian-skin-deep/3848248