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Professor Suman Gupta

Suman Gupta portrait

Profile summary

  • Chair in Literature and Cultural History; Head of Department, English & Creative Writing
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Art His, Class St, Eng&CW, Mus
  • suman.gupta

Professional biography

I was educated at the Universities of Delhi and Oxford. Before joining the Open University in 2000, I held appointments at Nottingham University and the University of Surrey Roehampton.

Research interests

My research interests are divided between modern and contemporary literature in English, cultural studies and political philosophy.

I have led the following international projects with grants from a number of funding bodies, including the British Academy, British Council, Leverhulme Trust, AHRC, Ferguson Trust: (1) Globalization, Identity Politics and Social Conflict (GIPSC) Project, 2002-2006, in collaboration with colleagues and partner institutions in India, Nigeria, China, Morocco, Iran, Bulgaria and the UK. (2) As Joint Director of the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, 2006-2008, I coordinated projects on contemporary Indian English publishing with a research group from Delhi University and input from the Independent Publishers Group, Delhi; and on the Nigerian moving picture industry with a research group from the University of Lagos. (3) English Studies in Non-Anglophone Contexts: East Europe, 2007-2010, in collaboration with colleagues from three Bulgarian and four Romanian universities. (4) With Professor Richard Allen, Prospects for English Studies: India and Britain Compared, 2011-2013, which involved working closely with colleagues from three universities in Delhi. (5) Principal Coordinator for a collaborative project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, Framing Financial Crisis and Protest: NW and SE Europe, 2014-2016. (6) With Professor Fabio Akcelrud Durão, Entrepreneurial Literary Research, 2016-2017, a Newton Grant funded collaboration between the Open University and the State University of Campinas, Brazil.   

Scholarships and visiting positions: UGC Junior Research Fellow, Delhi (1989-1990); Rhodes Scholar, Oxford (1990-1993); Knopf Fellow, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin TX (2000); Leverhulme Fellow (2001); Charter Fellow, Wolfson College Oxford (2001-2002); Adjunct Professor, Institute of North American and European Studies, University of Tehran (2007-2010); Visiting Professorial Fellow, Institute of World Literature, Beijing University (2007-2010); Visiting Fellow, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge (2011); Visiting Fellow, University of Delhi (2011); Visiting Professor, Institute of Language and Literature, The State University of Campinas, Brazil (2012); Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Roehampton University (2002-11, 2011-17). I have delivered over 50 keynote and open lectures in twelve countries.

Main Publications

Books:

  1. Co-authored (70% contribution) with Milena Katsarska, Theodoros Spyros, Mike Hajimichael. Usurping Suicide: The Political Resonances of Individual Death (London: Zed, August 2017) 
    [Looking closely at specific acts of suicide that bore wider political resonance, such as Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation during regime change in Tunisia to Dimitris Christoulas’s public shooting at a time of increased governmental austerity in Greece, this book focuses on the reception these acts have produced rather than the individual motivations. Exploring how a singular act can become endowed with collective significance, Usurping Suicide will be of interest to readers concerned with the intersection of public interests and private actions and the power of media in the framing of these events.]
  2. Philology and Global English Studies: Retracings (London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015)
    [This book retraces the formation of modern English Studies by departing from philological scholarship along two lines: in terms of institutional histories and in terms of the separation of literary criticism and linguistics.  It is argued that the full potential of the discipline’s global scope and pluralistic formation can only be realized by departing further from philology rather than returning to it – and that this is possible only by engaging with philology rather than by forgetting it. Part 1 outlines the complexities and coherent features of philological scholarship. Part 2 examines historical accounts of the discipline’s moves away from philology in several institutional contexts (UK, USA, India, post-1990 EU). Part 3 explores the gradual bifurcation of English linguistics and literary studies, departing concurrently from philology and from each other.]
  3. Co-authored (40% contribution) with Richard Allen, Subarno Chattarji, Supriya Chaudhuri, Reconsidering English Studies in Indian Higher Education (London: Routledge, 2015)
    [This book examines the status of English Studies in India, aspirations pinned on the subject by students, teachers, policy-makers and society in general, and how these are addressed at the higher education level.]
  4. Consumable Texts in Contemporary India: Uncultured Books and Bibliographical Sociology (London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015)
    [Production and reception patterns in five areas of contemporary Indian publishing are analysed: commercial fiction in English, vernacular pulp fiction in English translation, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, group discussion guidebooks, and public sector “value education” publications. The methodology is that of bibliographical sociology, which is conceptualised and discussed.]
  5. Contemporary Literature: The Basics (London: Routledge, 2012).
    [‘Contemporary Literature’ is among the most popular areas of literary study but it can be a difficult one to define. This book equips readers with the necessary tools to take an analytical and systematic approach to contemporary texts. ]
  6. Imagining Iraq: Literature in English and the Invasion of Iraq (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011)
    [An enormous number of literary texts engaged with the build-up towards, undertaking of and aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, 2003-2005. This book both provides a survey of such texts and presents a particular critical perspective on them. The idea here is to examine how certain literary texts appeared within and 'spoke' to a specific socio-political context, not merely to reckon with that context but to understand the condition of contemporary literature generally.]
  7. Globalization and Literature (Cambridge: Polity, 2009)
    [Presents an overview of the relationship between globalization studies and literature and literary studies, and the bearing that they have on each other. It is argued that, while literature has registered globalization processes in relevant ways, there has been a missed articulation between globalization studies and literary studies.]
  8. Social Constructionist Identity Politics and Literary Studies (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007).
    [A critique of social constructionist identity politics, and an examination of the institutionalization of identity politics in literary studies.]
  9. The Theory and Reality of Democracy: A Case Study in Iraq (London and New York: Continuum, 2006).
    [Examines concepts of democracy in the international/transnational domain from a politically realist perspective, and makes a case study of the rhetoric and policies surrounding the invasion and occupation of Iraq (September 2002-June 2004).]
  10. Re-Reading Harry Potter (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003).
    [A study of mass market literature, with the Harry Potter books and films, and the so-called Harry Potter “phenomenon”, as a case study.]
    Re-Reading Harry Potter: Second Edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009)
    [With four additional chapters, covering a world-to-text approach, reception in Bulgaria and China, and fanfiction.]
  11. The Replication of Violence: Thoughts on International Terrorism after 11 September 2001 (London and Sterling VA: Pluto, 2002).
    [A close analysis of British and US media reportage on “international terrorism” in the three months after 11 September 2001.]
  12. Corporate Capitalism and Political Philosophy (London and Sterling VA: Pluto, 2002).
    [A study of the place of managerialism in contemporary corporate capitalist organization, and its evasive philosophical underpinnings.]
  13. Marxism, History, and Intellectuals: Toward a Reconceptualized Transformative Socialism (Madison NJ and London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000).
    [Traces the development of constructions of "intellectuals" in socialist political philosophy, and offers a modest proposal for future socialist transformation.]
  14. V.S.Naipaul: Writers and Their Work (Plymouth: Northcote House and British Council, 1999).
    [A critical introduction to all Naipaul’s published works till 1999, with a particular emphasis on their political underpinnings.]
  15. Two Texts and I: Disciplines of Knowledge and the Literary Subject (Madison NJ and London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999).
    [An examination of the relationship between disciplines of knowledge and textual stylistics.]

Edited Volumes:

  1. [Forthcoming] With Tao Papaioannou, Grievances, Identities and Agency: Media Representations of Anti-austerity Protests in the EU (London: Routledge, 2017).
  2. With Alexander Search, Fabio Akcelrud Durão, Terrence McDonough. Entrepreneurial Literary Theory: A Debate on Research and the Future of Academia (London: Shot in the Dark, 2017).
  3. With Jernej Habjan and Hrvoje Tutek, Academic Labour, Unemployment and Global Higher Education: Neoliberal Policies of Funding and Management (London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016).
  4. With Milena Katsarska. English Studies On This Side: Post-2007 Reckonings (Plovdiv: University of Plovdiv Press, 2010).
  5. With Tapan Basu and Subarno Chattarji. Globalization in India: Contents and Discontents (New Delhi: Pearson Education, 2009).
  6. With Tope Omoniyi, The Cultures of Economic Migration: International Perspectives (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp.350.
  7. With David Johnson, A Twentieth Century Literature Reader: Texts and Debates (London: Routledge, 2005), 296pp.
  8. With Richard Brown, Aestheticism and Modernism: Debating Twentieth Century Literature (London: Routledge, 2005), 432pp.
  9. With Duro Oni, Tope Omoniyi, Efurosibina Adegbija and Segun Awonusi, Nigeria in the Age of Globalization (Lagos: CBAAC, 2004), pp.516.
  10. With Tapan Basu and Subarno Chattarji, India in the Age of Globalization (New Delhi: NMML, 2003), pp.416.

Guest Edited Journal Issues:

  1. [Forthcoming] With Satnam Virdee, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Special Issue: Race and Crisis. (Routledge, Summer 2018).
  2. With Fabio Akcelrud Durão, Wasafiri, Special Issue: The Brazilian Contemporary (London: Routledge, Summer 2015).
  3. With Ana-Karina Schneider, Special Issue: English Studies in Romania, The American, British and Canadian Studies Journal (Academic Anglophone Society of Romania, University of Sibiu), Volume 14, June 2010.
  4. Wasafiri, Special China Issue (London: Routledge, 2008), Issue 55

Over 60 papers, chapters in books, reviews.

Teaching interests

Since 1988 I have taught regularly on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in modern and contemporary literature and literary and cultural theory.

At the Open University, I was the production module team chair and presentation module team chair for the Level Three BA module A300: Twentieth Century Literature: Contexts and Debates; and production module team chair for A335: Literature in Transition: 1800 to the present. I was also production deputy course team chair for the English MA programme, A815 and A816. I have written material for several other modules.

Impact and engagement

In August 2007, Professor Duro Oni (University of Lagos) and I jointly organized a Nigerian Video Film Festival with support from, and venues in, the Nigerian High Commission and the British Film Institute in London. Recently I have delivered public lectures at the Tate Modern, London; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Wiels Centre for Contemporary Art, Brussels; and the India International Centre, Delhi.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
The Ferguson Centre for African and Asian StudiesCentreFaculty of Arts

 

Externally funded projects

Entrepreneurial Literary Research: Brazilian and British Literature Markets

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Sep/201631/Aug/2017BRITAC British Academy
This project engages with an emerging area of research, which is, at present, more systematically pursued in Anglophone than in Lusophone academic contexts. Entrepreneurial literary research investigates the commercial basis and economic impact of literature, with contemporary markets in view. The area is explored at 3 levels in this project: (1) the production and marketing of literary products in specific markets (relevant issues are: what quantitative and qualitative features of the reading market are significant; how do these influence text-content and textual material commodities, e.g. books; what structures exist or are emerging for authorship, publication, publicity and retailing); (2) the place of literature in the current global business ethos (e.g. how literary products are leveraged across linguistic boundaries and economic regimes, how literary texts may implicitly ground consumer behaviour); (3) symbiotic commercial relations between the literature industry and other industries (e.g.: news industries, TV/film and entertainment industries, heritage and tourism industries). The project’s activities in 2016-17 are: (1) a 7-day research visit by the applicant (PI) and his colleague, Prof Leandro Pasini, to London; (2) a 2-day workshop for postgraduate and early career researchers in Campinas led by the co-applicant (Co-I) and his colleague, Prof Nicola Watson; and (3) a 1-day seminar in London with invited representatives of and researchers in UK literary publishing, followed by a 6-day research visit by the PI and Pasini in the UK for preparing outcomes and funding bids with the Co-I. The institutional bases of the project are the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil, and the Open University (OU), UK.

Publications

Philology of the Contemporary World: On Storying the Financial Crisis (2017)
Gupta, Suman
Philology, 2 (pp. 277-298 (In Press))
Introduction: European crises: contemporary nationalisms and the language of “race” (2017)
Gupta, Suman and Virdee, Satnam
Ethnic and Racial Studies ((Early Access))
Crisis of the Novel and the Novel of Crisis (2015-12)
Gupta, Suman
Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 42(4) (pp. 454-467)
Pixação and Tourist Appraisal (2015-06)
Gupta, Suman
Wasafiri: International Contemporary Writing , 30(2) (pp. 40-46)
Crisis and Representation: Notes on Media and Media Studies (2015-06)
Gupta, Suman
Cyprus Review, 27(1) (pp. 293-310)
Big issues around a small-scale phenomenon: vernacular pulp fiction in English translation for Indian readers (2013-03)
Gupta, Suman
Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 48(1) (pp. 159-175)
On the Indian readers of Hitler's Mein Kampf (2012-11-17)
Gupta, Suman
Economic & Political Weekly, 47(46) (pp. 51-58)
Indian ‘commercial’ fiction in English, the publishing industry, and youth culture (2012-02-04)
Gupta, Suman
Economic and Political Weekly, 46(5) (pp. 46-53)
Conceptualising the art of communist times (2010-08)
Gupta, Suman
Third Text, 24(5) (pp. 571-582)
Conceptualising classroom observations for a project on higher education English studies in non-Anglophone contexts (2010-06)
Gupta, Suman
American, British and Canadian Studies, 14 (pp. 151-167)
Critical practice in the English Studies classroom: observations in Bulgaria (2010-05)
Gupta, Suman
English Studies, 91(3) (pp. 328-343)
The official record and the receptive field: Zlatyu Boyadzhiev in Communist times (2010-03)
Gupta, Suman and Katsarska, Milena
Konsthistorisk Tidskrift/Journal of Arts History, 79(1) (pp. 1-17)
From crowds to transnational massing: presence and representation (2009-04)
Gupta, Suman
Storia della Storiografia, 55 (pp. 128-143)
Editorial: Writing China (2008-10)
Gupta, Suman
Wasafiri, 23(3) (pp. 1-4)
Li Rui, Mo Yan, Yan Lianke and Lin Bai: four contemporary Chinese writers interviewed (2008-09)
Gupta, Suman
Wasafiri, 23(3) (pp. 28-36)
Sociological speculations on the professions of children’s literature (2005-09)
Gupta, Suman
The Lion and the Unicorn, 29(3) (pp. 299-323)
In search of genius: T.S. Eliot as publisher (2003-10)
Gupta, Suman
Journal of Modern Literature, 27(1-2) (pp. 26-35)
Usurping Suicide: The Political Resonances of Individual Deaths (2017-08-15)
Gupta, Suman; Katsarska, Milena; Spyros, Theodoros A. and Hajimichael, Mike
ISBN : 9781786990983 | Publisher : Zed | Published : London
Entrepreneurial Literary Theory: A Debate on Research and the Future of Academia (2017-07)
Gupta, Suman; Search, Alexander; Durao, Fabio A. and McDonough, Terrence
ISBN : 9781527211186 | Publisher : Shot in the Dark | Published : London
Philology and Global English Studies: Retracings (2015-07)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 9781137537829 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London
Reconsidering English Studies in Indian Higher Education (2015-06)
Gupta, Suman; Allen, Richard; Chattarji, Subarno and Chaudhuri, Supriya
Routledge Research in Higher Education
ISBN : 9781138794641 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Consumable Texts in Contemporary India: Uncultured Books and Bibliographical Sociology (2015-02)
Gupta, Suman
New Directions in Book History
ISBN : 9781137489296 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Contemporary Literature: The Basics (2011-10-26)
Gupta, Suman
Basics
ISBN : 978-0-415-66871-2 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Imagining Iraq: Literature in English and the Iraq Invasion (2011-01)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 9780230278752 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Globalization and Literature (2009)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 9780745640235 | Publisher : Polity | Published : Cambridge
Re-Reading Harry Potter (2nd Edn) (2009)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 9780230219588 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Houndmills
Social constructionist identity politics and literary studies (2007-01)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 230500471 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
Theory and reality of democracy: a case study in Iraq (2006-03-01)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 826488358 | Publisher : Continuum | Published : UK
Re-reading Harry Potter (2003-05)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 1403912653 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
The replication of violence: thoughts on international terrorism after September 11th 2001 (2002-07)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 074531953X | Publisher : Pluto Press | Published : London, UK
Corporate capitalism and political philosophy (2001-12)
Gupta, Suman
ISBN : 745317553 | Publisher : Pluto | Published : London, UK
On Mapping Genre: Literary Fiction/Genre Fiction and Globalization Processes (2016)
Gupta, Suman
In: Habjan, Jernej and Imlinger, Fabienne eds. Globalizing Literary Genres: Literature, History, Modernity. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature (pp. 213-227)
ISBN : 9781138898325 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : New York
Introduction: on English studies and philology, and on collaboration and contributions (2010)
Gupta, Suman and Katsarska, Milena
In: Gupta, Suman and Katsarska, Milena eds. English Studies on This Side: Post-2007 Reckonings (pp. 17-44)
ISBN : 9789544235680 | Publisher : University of Plovdiv Press | Published : Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Looking for something (2010)
Gupta, Suman
In: Elkins, James; Valiavicharska, Zhivka and Kim, Alice eds. Art and Globalization. The Stone Art Theory Institutes (1) (pp. 229-236)
ISBN : 978-0-271-03716-5 | Publisher : Pennsylvania State University Press | Published : University Park, Pennsylvania
Harry Potter Goes to China (2009)
Gupta, Suman
In: Maybin, Janet and Watson, Nicola J. eds. Children’s Literature: Approaches and Territories (pp. 338-352)
ISBN : 9780230227132 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Institutional histories of literary disciplines (2009)
Gupta, Suman
In: Da Sousa Correa, Delia and Owens, W. R. eds. The Handbook to Literary Research (pp. 89-108)
ISBN : 9780415497329 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
The place of theory in literary disciplines (2009)
Gupta, Suman
In: Da Sousa Correa, Delia and Owens, W. R. eds. The Handbook to Literary Research (pp. 109-130)
ISBN : 978-0-415-48500-5 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
The origins and impact of outsourcing: reconfiguring the post-colonial city (2009)
Gupta, Suman
In: Gupta, Suman; Basu, Tapan and Chattarji, Subarno eds. Globalization in India: Contents and Discontents (pp. 18-33)
ISBN : 9788131719886 | Publisher : Pearson | Published : Delhi
Xenophobia and the academic disposition of migration studies (2008)
Gupta, Suman
In: Ivanov, Zhivko and Katsarska, Milena eds. Migration, Modern Nationalism, and Nostalgia for the Homeland (pp. 59-78)
ISBN : 9789544234225 | Publisher : Plovdiv University Press | Published : Plovdiv
Media Representations of Anti-Austerity Protests in the EU: Grievances, Identities and Agency (2017-09-06)
Papaioannou, Tao and Gupta, Suman eds.
Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies
ISBN : 9781138685932 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Academic Labour, Unemployment and Global Higher Education: Neoliberal Policies of Funding and Management (2016-08)
Gupta, Suman; Habjan, Jernej and Tutek, Hrvoje eds.
Palgrave Critical University Studies
ISBN : 978-1-137-49323-1 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London
English Studies On This Side: Post-2007 Reckonings (2010)
Gupta, Suman and Katsarska, Milena eds.
ISBN : 9789544235680 | Publisher : University of Plovdiv Press | Published : Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Globalization in India: Contents and Discontents (2009)
Gupta, Suman; Basu, Tapan and Chattarji, Subarno eds.
ISBN : 9788131719886 | Publisher : Pearson Education | Published : Delhi
The cultures of economic migration: international perspectives (2007-09)
Gupta, Suman and Omoniyi, Tope eds.
Studies in Migration and Diaspora
ISBN : 754670708 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK
American, British and Canadian Studies. Vol. 14: Special Issue, English Studies in Romania (2010-06)
Gupta, Suman and Schneider, Ana-Karina
The Academic Anglophone Society of Romania, Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu, Romania.

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