Recent Work

"A Glorious Thing Made Up Of Stardust:" What Pat Parker & Rohith Vemula Ask Us to Consider", Guest Post on www.kafila.org, February 18 2016  

This post reads two lines from a poem by African American poet Pat Parker alongside Rohith Vemula's suicide note to reflect on the poignant difficulties of challenging socially produced miasmas like race and caste in contexts in which they are simultaneously avowed and disavowed. It also asks how social justice rhetoric might better attune itself to addressing these complexities. Read here. 

"Writing the Present," Economic and Political Weekly, December  2015

Critical discourse in India has largely been shaped by the social sciences. This article suggests that the exploratory sensibility of the arts and the humanities has a specific and productive contribution to make in the present context in which knowledge is instrumentalised and language deemed transactional. Download here. 

"Sex and the Signal-free Corridor: Rethinking the Feminist Imaginary," Economic & Political Weekly, February 2014

This article reflects on the idea of the city shared alike by feminism and neo-liberalism and its regrettable implications for how the question of women’s sexual freedom is articulated and defended. Download here.

"Urban Triptych," Seminar, August 2012

Denselypacked labyrinthine streets are lined with higgledy-piggledy constructions. Lean blocks rise skyward beside squat single-storey buildings framed by clouds. Read here / download here.

"The Ayodhya Judgement: A Response," Economic & Political Weekly, October 2011

Nivedita Menon interprets me as having “applauded” the Ayodhya verdict in my piece in EPW (Mani 2010), considering it a “vindication” of how the social world of our subcontinent is formed by its religio-sacred inheritances (Menon 2011). This reading simplifies my perspective and it is important to clarify my position. Download here.

"Human Dignity and Suffering: Some Considerations," Economic & Political Weekly, September 2011

Does suffering affect dignity? This essay examines the consequences of construing dignity not as an intrinsic, constitutive quality integral to our very being but as an extrinsic, variable property dependent on certain conditions. Download here.

"The Ayodhya Verdict, "Economic & Political Weekly, October 2010

Was the destruction of Babri masjid justified? Absolutely not. Was the judgment fair? If one thinks of history and law as the primary means of just recompense it was clearly not. If however one asks whether it may facilitate peace understood as a negotiated compromise between people who have no choice but to live with each other and with all that binds them and all that threatens to separate them, things look more hopeful and less bleak. Download here.

"The Phantom of Globality and the Delirium of Excess," Economic & Political Weekly, September 2008

Globalisation requires an unanchored discourse of globality to mediate its disruptive effects. This phantom discourse does not merely disarticulate the real relations between neoliberal globalisation and the material realities it enters, transforms, or destroys. It also offers a mode of affiliation for its chief beneficiaries. Download here.


Early Work

"Crosscurrents, Crosstalk: Race, ‘Postcoloniality’ and the Politics of Location," (with Ruth Frankenberg), Cultural Studies, 7:2, May 1993, 292-310.

"Cultural Theory, Colonial Texts: Eyewitness Accounts of Widow Burning," in Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson and Paula Treichler ,Eds., Cultural Studies, New York: Routledge, 1992, 392-405 also published as “The Female Subject, The Colonial Gaze: Reading Eyewitness Accounts of Widow Burning,” in Tejaswini Niranjana, P. Sudhir and Vivek Dhareshwar, Eds., Interrogating Modernity: Culture and Colonialism in India, Calcutta: Seagull, 1993, 273-90.

"Gender, Class and Cultural Conflict: Indu Krishnan’s Knowing Her Place," Samar, Winter, 1992, 11-14; also in Women of South Asian Descent Collective, Eds., Our Feet Walk the Sky: Women of the South Asian Diaspora, San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1993, 32-36.

"Multiple Mediations: Feminist Scholarship in the Age of Multinational Reception,” Feminist Review, 35, Summer 1990, 24-41.

“Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India,” Cultural Critique, 7, Fall 1987, 119-156; also in Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid, Eds., Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History, New Delhi: Kali, 1989, 88-126.

“The Production of an Official Discourse on Sati in Early Nineteenth Century Bengal,” in Francis Barker et al Eds., Europe and its Others, Colchester: University of Essex, 1985, vol.1, 107-27; also in Economic and Political Weekly: Review of Women’s Studies, April 26 1986, 32-40.

“The Challenge of Orientalism,” (with Ruth Frankenberg), Economy and Society, 14:2, May 1985, 174-92