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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

SU Humanities Center announces 2012-13 dissertation fellows

Rinku Chatterjee and Sandeep Banerjee are Ph.D. students in English

Oct. 1, 2012, by Rob Enslin

Rinku Chatterjee
Rinku Chatterjee
The Syracuse University Humanities Center has announced recipients of its 2012-13 Dissertation/Thesis Fellowships. Rinku Chatterjee and Sandeep Banerjee, both doctoral students in English, have received one-year awards, carrying stipends and benefits. The fellowship program supports students working on doctoral dissertations that contain strong humanistic content and advance one or more areas of study in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“Rinku and Sandeep exemplify the interdisciplinary spirit of the humanities,” says Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and founding director of The SU Humanities Center. “Both are promising young scholars with a capacity for collaborative research and engagement. We are honored to support their doctoral work, which, in turn, contributes to the general enrichment of humanities scholarship on campus.”

Much of Chatterjee’s research concerns early modern literature and drama, theories of history, and cultural materialism. She is also interested in post-colonial theory, translation studies, and Indian writing in English, and has designed and taught courses on ethnicity, gender, and class.

Chatterjee’s dissertation, “Peripheral Knowledge: The Witch, the Magus, and the Mountebank on the Early Modern Stage,” argues that there was a strong humanist intellectual investment in various forms of liminal knowledge, embodied by arguably socially marginalized figures.

“While humanist philosophers such as [Marsilio] Ficino and [Giovanni] Pico della Mirandola glorified the pursuit of limitless knowledge, practical humanism was grounded within social institutions, and was invested in maintaining their integrity,” says Chatterjee, a Ph.D. student at SU since 2006. 

Fluent in six languages (including Latin and Sanskrit), Chatterjee previously earned three degrees in English literature in India: two master’s degrees from Jadavpur University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Calcutta. She has since taught at the undergraduate level in India, and has served as an editor and reporter for The Statesman, a major Indian English-language daily newspaper.

Sandeep Banerjee
Sandeep Banerjee
Also from India, Sandeep is interested in literature and culture of the British Empire, as well as materialist approaches to space, culture, and globalization. His other interests include British literature and culture from the “long 19th century” (c. 1789-1914); visual culture; post-colonial literature and theory; and cultural studies of contemporary South Asia, particularly Bollywood.

Sandeep’s dissertation, “Landscaping India: From Colony to Postcolony,” investigates the use of landscapes in colonial and anti-colonial representations of India from the mid-19th to the early-20th centuries.

"'Landscaping India' illuminates the contested process through which the landscapes of British India were produced, and how those [landscapes] were transformed into the space of the Indian nation,” says Sandeep, who joined the Ph.D. program in 2007. “My goal is to shed light on the imbricated relationship between representation, landscape, affect, and hegemony in the context of British imperialism and its aftermath in South Asia and beyond.”

Sandeep earned a master’s degree from the University of Oxford (U.K.), where he served as a British Chevening/Radhakrishnan Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree from Jadavpur University. Prior to SU, he was a special correspondent with Cable News Network-Indian Broadcasting Network (CNN-IBN). 

The SU Humanities Center, founded in 2008, fosters public engagement in the humanities, and is home to the Central New York Humanities Corridor; the Watson Visiting Collaborator and Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship programs; the HC Mini-Seminar and Syracuse Symposium Seminar series; and other research initiatives, fellowships and public programming.