Dr Sourit Bhattacharya

Lecturer in Global Anglophone Literatures


I am a Lecturer in Global Anglophone Literatures at the University of Edinburgh. I received my PhD at the University of Warwick and have previously taught at the universities of Calcutta, Warwick, Glasgow, and IIT Roorkee, India. My research and supervision interests include colonial and postcolonial studies, South Asian literatures and cultures, environmental and disaster studies, famine and food studies, and materialist theories.


PhD in English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

MPhil in Social Sciences, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, Jadavpur University

MA in English, Jadavpur University

BA (Hons) in English Literature, Presidency College, University of Calcutta

Responsibilities & affiliations

Programme Director and Cohort Lead, MSc in Comparative Literature

Student Engagement Officer, 2022-2023

Postgraduate teaching

Spring 2023:

Programme Director: MSc in Comparative Literature

Seminar Tutor:

Literature and Modernity II

Theories and Methods of Literary Study II


Novel (1B); Criticism (2B)


Autumn 2022

Course convenor: Commodities of Empire: Colonialsim, Ecology, Culture

Seminar Tutor: Theories and Methods of Literary Study I


Spring Sem 2022: MSc

Theories and Methods of Literary Study II

Literature and Modernity II

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am interested in guiding PhD projects that fall broadly within my research areas which include colonial and postcolonial including South Asian and minority ethnic Scottish literatures and cultures; environmental humanities, disaster studies, and postcolonial ecocriticism; world literature from the margins; race and antiracism; diaspora, migration, and postcolonial nationhood; caste and subaltern theories; global modernisms; and Marxist critical theory.

Current PhD students supervised

Marianna Golunucci (Glasgow): Anti-racism and Scottish women writers and activists

Past PhD students supervised

For three terms:

Shruti Shukla (Glasgow): African American and Dalit female writers

Laura Scott (Glasgow): Scottish minority ethnic writers

Research summary

My research lies at the intersections of empire, postcolonial, food, and environmental discourses. I am interested in understanding how literary and artistic representations of disasters (especially famines and slow violence such as food poverty) in the colonial, postcolonial, and postimperial worlds reveal complex social dynamics and structural inequalities. My first book, 'Postcolonial Modernity and the Indian Novel: On Catastrophic Realism' (Palgrave, 2020), shortlisted for the University English First Book Prize 2022, explored these questions through a close reading of the novels of three catastrophic events from late-colonial and postcolonial India: 1943 Bengal Bengal Famine, the Naxalbari Movement, and the Indian Emergency.

I followed these questions with a couple of research projects. A Carnegie Research Incentive Grant helped me to explore the literary and cultural works of the 1943 Bengal famine which would result in an online annotated bibliography of the works. I also hold a Royal Society of Edinburgh Network Award on the British empire, Scotland, and Indian famines bringing scholars and public bodies in the UK and India together to interrogate colonialism's role in 'making' and preventing famines in India, and how these famines fuelled anti-colonial nationalist writings and campaigns. This would allow to hold four events through this Network until 2024, details here: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/rseaward_indianfamines/

These interests have also led me to co-found a Food Sovereignty Research Network at the University of Glasgow, which I am now affiliated to, and which works on how local food growing and distributions initiatives aim to tackle food poverty challenges of the twenty first century metropolis. I am additionally interested in food banks and their cultural reception among ethnic minority communities. Webpage here: https://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/artslab/labsandthemes/collegewidethemes/foodsovereignty/

My other interest lies in reading postcolonial and world literatures from an anti-colonial and peripheral perspective. My second monograph, 'Postcolonialism Now: Literature, Reading, Decolonising' (forthcoming Orient BlackSwan) reads literary and cultural texts -- poetry, theatre, novel, film, documentary, graphic novel, non-fiction from the last three decades -- to offer a new method of reading which it calls 'reading for decolonising'. The book argues that the overwhelming nature of theory in the field has often relegated reading literary texts closely and comparatively through the lens of struggle and resistance to the margins. This book is aimed at students and scholars aiming to learn how to read or 'do' postcolonial literature from an anti-colonial lens. 

I've taken this interest to a cognate field of vernacular world literatures and translation studies. How do we read 'vernacular' or untranslated literatures and 'local' literary networks in late colonial/mid-20thC India which actively participated in contemporary world-literary dialogues but are not widely known (i.e., translated in major European languages and/or published by major Euro-American presses)? Is there a world-form (uneven and coeval) in peripheral literatures? I have addressed some of the these questions in a co-edited volume on the radical Indian-Bengali writer, Nabarun Bhattacharya: Aesthetics and Politics in a World after Ethics (Bloomsbury, 2020). I'm currently collaborating with Dr Arka Chattopadhyay, IIT Gandhinagar, on a 'vernacular' world modernism project that has arisen out of an ACLA seminar and a subsequent journal special issue and Dr Chattopadhyay's Charles Wallace fellowships at IASH, Edinburgh.

Forthcoming publications:

  • “The Postcolonial Afterlife in South Africa: AIDS, Xenophobia, and the Community of Healing in Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow”, in Sreejith Varma and Ajanta Sircar eds., Contagion Narratives (Routledge), 2023
  • “'Postcolonial Disaster'": Purdah, Precarity, and Hunger in Abu Ishaque's Surja Dighal Bari.” South Asian Review, 2023
  • “ Indigo, World-ecology, World-literature: Dinabandhu Mitra’s Nil Darpan” in Sudesh Mishra & Caitlin Vandertop and eds., Commodities and Literature (Cambridge UP), 2023
  • “Capitalist World-ecology, Food Crisis, and Embodied Aesthetics in Kamala Markandaya's Nectar in a Sieve" in Literature and Cinema in Postcolonial India (Routledge), 2024
  • “Plants in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Indian Writings”, in Bonnie Lander Johnson, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Plants (Cambridge UP), 2024
  • “Postcolonial Disasters and Literary Aesthetics: An Eco-materialist Reading” in Kerstin Oloff, Treasa DeLoughrey, Claire Westall, and Sharae Deckard eds., The Routledge Companion to Literature and the  Environment (Routledge), 2024

Research activities

View activity on Research Explorer

Current project grants

Carnegie Research Incentive Grant (RIG009840): Representing the 1943 Bengal Famine: Colonialism, Food Crisis, Culture (July 2021 till Sep 2022)

Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network Award (69777): The British Empire, Scotland, and Indian Famines: Writings on Food Crisis in Colonial India (March 2022 till March 2024)

View all 39 publications on Research Explorer


I am the P-I of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network on 'The British Empire, Scotland and Indian Famines'. We are organising two conferences and one authors' workshop on the topic of 'The British Empire and Colonial Famines: History, Culture, Critique' in Edinburgh (2022, 2023) and Guwahati (2023) and one public engagement event in Kolkata (2024). For more details, see here: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/rseaward_indianfamines/

Chief Editor from 2014: Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry (https://sanglap-journal.in/index.php/sanglap)