Arunima Bhattacharya


Colonial and Postcolonial literature and historiography; colonial travel literature; colonial urban geographies; city studies; environmental humanities, spatiality and gender studies.

Past Academic Record:

M.Phil in English Literature (Senior Research Fellowship [University Grants Commission, India] at Jadavpur University).

Exchange student (1 month) during my M.Phil under ETIC project (Jadavpur University) at Maison de la Recherche, Sorbonne Université, Paris.

MA in English Literature (Presidency College, University of Calcutta, India).         

BA in English (Presidency College, University of Calcutta, India)

Doctoral research:
My current research is titled: ‘Narrativization of Calcutta through Handbooks: 1880-1940’.

Supervised by Prof. Graham Huggan.

My current research, funded by Leeds International Research Fellowship, examines handbooks and guidebooks written during the turn of the twentieth century in and about colonial Calcutta, the first capital of the British Raj in India. It builds on my M.Phil dissertation on the literary representation of colonial urban space in the works of R.J. Minney.
My work contextualizes a close textual study of handbooks in a critical reading of colonial urban geographies. Using an interdisciplinary methodology, I showcase the impact of colonial governmental measures on colonial historiography and the regulation of space and body as is registered in the handbooks of the period. My work looks at the handbook form as a distilled reflection on colonial policies of segregation and control. The textual manipulation of space, body, and history is explored in the context of official historiography, the complex paradigms of race inflected with class and urban planning measures.

Academic Activities:
Women's Paths: Rewriting Physical and Discursive Borders
I co-founded and co-directed Women's Paths: Rewriting Physical and Discursive Borders, a research group about women's writing around the world.
As a co-director along with two others, my role comprised organizing and chairing reading group discussions and a year-long seminar series where PhD students, early career researchers and academics present their current research. We have aimed to pair invited speakers with researchers from within the university to enable networking opportunities and an awareness of the UK research climate in gender studies. As directors we have also endeavoured to engage the community by organizing poetry readings with locally based poets and also presented events in conjunction with the Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
This project has been awarded by the sponsorship for two consecutive years from the following sources:
Leeds Humanities Research Institute (2015-2016)
Faculty of Arts. Research Group Grant (2016-1017)
The group is continuing in its third year with new directors and renewed funding.

Journal Articles:
‘Introduction’ in ‘Cities, Space and Literature’, special issue of Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry, ed. by Arunima Bhattacharya and Anuparna Mukherjee, 3:2., 1-26 (2017).

Conference Organisation:
‘Reclaiming the Darkest Corners’: Discussing Women’s Participation in Protest Marches Organised as the co-director of Women’s Paths Research group, University of Leeds, 5th June 2016. Funded by the Faculty of Arts Research group grant.
‘A Room of Her Own: Writing Women’s Independence around the Globe’. Organized as the co-director of Women’s Paths Research group, University of Leeds, 20th May 2016. Funded by Leeds Humanities Research Institute.
Selected Conference Presentations:
“Producing the Colonial Capital: Calcutta in Handbooks.” In Other Capitals of the Nineteenth Century American Comparative Literature Association Annual Convention, University of Utrecht. July 6-9, 2017.
“Locating the Other City in Calcutta Guidebooks: Narrativizing the Colonial Capital during the Turn of the 20th Century” in The Uncanny City: Strangers and Strangeness in Urban Literature. Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. June 15-16, 2017.
“The Reconfiguring of Core and Periphery in Ahmed Ali's Twilight in Delhi and Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger." Special Panel, ‘Peripheral Modernity and the South Asian Literary-World.’ 24th ECSAS Biennial Conference. University of Warsaw. 27-30 July 2016.
“End of the century Calcutta in Rudyard Kipling’s City of Dreadful Night and R.J. Minneys’ Night Life of Calcutta.” Forgotten Geographies in the Fin de Siècle, 1880-1920. Birkbeck College, University of London. 8-9 July 2016.
“Night-time Calcutta: An Imaginative Geography of the Colonial Capital of British India.” Everywhere and Nowhere: an Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Symposium on Imagined Spaces. Organized by The Landscape Space Place Research Group, University of Nottingham, 20 June 2016.
“Mapping Calcutta through Handbooks and Advice Manuals” in The Inaugural Northern Postcolonial Network Symposium. University of Liverpool, 23 January 2015.

ECSAS (European Association for South Asian Studies)
PSA (Postcolonial Studies Association)
ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association)
BAVS (British Association for Victorian Studies)
SANGLAP (Reviewer and guest-editor for Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry)Current Academic Year: Prose: Reading and Interpretation (Semester 1); Poetry: Reading and Interpretation; Reception, Transmission and Translation: The Global circulation of literature (seminar class and 1 lecture)