Ankhi Mukherjee talks about that looks at the subject of psychoanalysis as a product of social and cultural processes, and thereby reorients concepts of parental and familial bonds, trauma, coping mechanisms and so on. The conversation focuses on her recent book on the subject, Unseen City: The Psychic Lives of the Urban Poor, which studies community-based psychiatry and how it serves the working classes in three global cities.
Ankhi Mukherjee is Professor of English and World Literatures at the University of Oxford and a Fellow in English at Wadham College. Her most recent book is Unseen City: The Psychic Lives of the Urban Poor, published by Cambridge University Press in December 2021. Her second monograph, What Is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewriting and Invention of the Canon (Stanford, 2014) won the British Academy prize in English Literature in 2015. Mukherjee’s other publications include Aesthetic Hysteria: The Great Neurosis in Victorian Melodrama and Contemporary Fiction (Routledge, 2007) and the collections of essays she has edited, namely A Concise Companion to Psychoanalysis, Literature, and Culture (with Laura Marcus, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015) and After Lacan (Cambridge UP, 2018). Mukherjee has published in competitive peer-reviewed journals, including PMLA, MLQ, Contemporary Literature, Parallax, and the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, and sits on the editorial boards of several international journals. At present, Mukherjee has two books under contract. She is writing A Very Short Introduction to Postcolonial Literature in the widely circulated VSI series (Oxford UP, 2023) and co-editing (with Ato Quayson) a collaborative volume titled Decolonizing the English Literary Curriculum (Cambridge UP, 2022).
Image: © 2022 Saronik Bosu
Music used in promotional material: ‘Avec Toi’ by Dana Boulé.
Olga Verlato and Antara Chakrabarti, contributing editors at Borderlines, talk about the concept of theory from the south, which critiques the notion that theory originating from the global north exhausts the possibilities of critical theoretical understanding.
Olga Verlato is a PhD candidate at New York University in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, and a Contributing Editor for the Middle East at Borderlines. She works on the modern history of Egypt and the Mediterranean, focusing on the impact of multilingual practices and language ideologies on politics, society, and culture.
Antara Chakrabarti is a Doctoral Student in the Sociocultural track of the Dept. of Anthropology in Columbia University. Her research strives to ethnographically and historically understand the intersections of environment, mobilities, and infrastructures in contemporary South Asia. She is a Contributing Editor for South Asia at Borderlines.
Borderlines is a student-run, open-access site mentored by the editors of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (CSSAAME). It seeks to rethink ideas of region and area studies by exploring different categories and histories within and across borderlines that have constructed areas of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
Antara and Olga also interview Saronik about High Theory in this episode, about its origins and the work that it does. Find the full transcript of the episode at Borderlines.
Image: “Binoculars” © 2021 Saronik Bosu
Music used in promotional material: ‘Early Rising’ by Dlay
In our second crossover episode, Saronik talks to Maryyum Mehmood and Aditya Desai, the hosts of Diasporastan, a podcast for discussions on the South Asian diaspora, both as topic and lens through which to view the world. They talk about the podcast, and what the word ‘diaspora’ has meant to them in identitarian and generative capacities.
Maryyum is a socio-political analyst, cultural commentator and community cohesion expert. Along with her interfaith work, she teaches in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham.
Aditya is a writer, teacher, and activist in Baltimore. His stories and essays have appeared in in B O D Y, Barrelhouse Magazine, The Rumpus, The Millions, The Margins, District Lit, The Kartika Review, The Aerogram, and others.
Image: The logo of Diasporastan, created by Nirja Desai (@kalakar on Instagram)
Music used in promotional material: ‘The Beginning or the End’ by Nicholas Mackin