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.
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, with partners in Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Ireland and the UK. (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.
- [Forthcoming] Digital India and the Poor: Policy, Technology and Society (Routledge India, 2020)
[The phrase ‘Digital India’ here refers to an aspiration for progressive social development through technological means, particularly post-2000. Within that broad context, this study explores the ways in which poor people and the condition of being poor are discussed, represented and purposively used in public discourses. This area is addressed by turn from a top-down perspective, in relation to initiatives bearing upon the population generally, and from an on-the-ground perspective, taking in intimate spaces and accounts of lived observations and experiences. For the former, education technology experiments in Indian ‘slums’ and a series of governmental ‘financial inclusion’ initiatives (including PMJDY, Aadhaar and demonetisation) are analysed; for the latter, the status of domestic workers, restructuring of domestic work and the place of technology therein are examined.]
- [Forthcoming] Co-authored (50% contribution) with Peter H. Tu. What is Artificial Intelligence? Conversation between an AI Engineer and a Humanities Researcher (World Scientific Europe, 2020)
[This book engages with the title question by putting two standpoints into conversation. These are different in their disciplinary groundings – i.e. technology and the humanities -- and also in their approaches – i.e. applied and conceptual. The two standpoints are those of the two authors. Peter is an AI engineer: his approach to the question is in terms of the functional composition of what is understood as AI (how to make it work). Suman is a humanities researcher: his approach is in terms of how AI is currently understood and spoken of in different walks of life (what do people mean when they say ‘AI’) – including in academic and policy circles.]
- Co-authored (70% contribution) with Milena Katsarska, Theodoros Spyros, Mike Hajimichael. Usurping Suicide: The Political Resonances of Individual Death (London: Zed, 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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. ]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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).]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- With Satnam Virdee, Race and Crisis (London: Routledge, 2018).
- With Tao Papaioannou, Media Representations of Anti-austerity Protests in the EU (London: Routledge, 2017).
- 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).
- With Jernej Habjan and Hrvoje Tutek, Academic Labour, Unemployment and Global Higher Education: Neoliberal Policies of Funding and Management (London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016).
- With Milena Katsarska. English Studies On This Side: Post-2007 Reckonings (Plovdiv: University of Plovdiv Press, 2010).
- With Tapan Basu and Subarno Chattarji. Globalization in India: Contents and Discontents (New Delhi: Pearson Education, 2009).
- With Tope Omoniyi, The Cultures of Economic Migration: International Perspectives (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp.350.
- With David Johnson, A Twentieth Century Literature Reader: Texts and Debates (London: Routledge, 2005), 296pp.
- With Richard Brown, Aestheticism and Modernism: Debating Twentieth Century Literature (London: Routledge, 2005), 432pp.
- With Duro Oni, Tope Omoniyi, Efurosibina Adegbija and Segun Awonusi, Nigeria in the Age of Globalization (Lagos: CBAAC, 2004), pp.516.
- With Tapan Basu and Subarno Chattarji, India in the Age of Globalization (New Delhi: NMML, 2003), pp.416.
Guest Edited Journal Issues:
- With Subarno Chattarji, Postcolonial Studies, Vol.22 No.1. Special Issue: Indian Student Protests and the Nationalist-Neoliberal Nexus (Routledge and IPCS, 2019).
- With Satnam Virdee, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Special Issue: Race and Crisis. Vol.41 Issue 10 (Routledge, Summer 2018).
- With Fabio Akcelrud Durão, Wasafiri, Special Issue: The Brazilian Contemporary. Vol.30 No.2 (London: Routledge, Summer 2015).
- 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.
- Wasafiri, Special China Issue (London: Routledge, 2008), Issue 55
Over 70 journal papers, book chapters, reviews.
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.
Indian student protests and the nationalist–neoliberal nexus (2019)
Postcolonial Studies, 22(1) (pp. 1-15)
Protests, Repression, Restructuring: Contemplating Indian Higher Education in 2018 (2019)
Gupta, Suman and Chattarji, Subarno
Postcolonial Studies, 22(1) (pp. 117-130)
“Resilience” as a policy keyword: Arts Council England and austerity (2019)
Gupta, Suman and Gupta, Ayan-Yue
Policy Studies ((Early Access))
Creative writing programmes and patronage (2019)
British Journal of Educational Studies, 67(3) (pp. 321-336)
“Liderazgo académico” y las condiciones del trabajo académico (2018-07-01)
Gupta, Suman and Allen, Richard
Literatura: teoría, historia, crítica, 20(2) (pp. 293-319)
Introduction: European crises: contemporary nationalisms and the language of “race” (2018)
Gupta, Suman and Virdee, Satnam
Ethnic and Racial Studies, 41(10) (pp. 1747-1764)
[Book Review] On race: 34 conversations in a time of crisis (2018)
Ethnic and Racial Studies, 42(3) (pp. 472-475)
Disciplinary departures and discipline formation: The institutional rationale (2017-10-20)
TEXT Journal of Writing and Writing Courses, 21(2)
A Perspectiva Da Pensativa Traça De Livro Quanto À Pesquisa Literária e Linguística [The Thinking Bookworm’s View Of Literary And Linguistic Research] (2017)
Revista da Anpoll, 43 (pp. 175-192)
Philology of the Contemporary World: On Storying the Financial Crisis (2016)
Philology, 2016(2) (pp. 275-296)
Crisis of the Novel and the Novel of Crisis (2015-12-16)
Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 42(4) (pp. 454-467)
Crisis and Representation: Notes on Media and Media Studies (2015-06-30)
Cyprus Review, 27(1) (pp. 293-310)
Pixação and Tourist Appraisal (2015-06)
Wasafiri: International Contemporary Writing, 30(2) (pp. 40-46)
Big issues around a small-scale phenomenon: vernacular pulp fiction in English translation for Indian readers (2013-03)
Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 48(1) (pp. 159-175)
On the Indian readers of Hitler's Mein Kampf (2012-11-17)
Economic & Political Weekly, 47(46) (pp. 51-58)
Indian ‘commercial’ fiction in English, the publishing industry, and youth culture (2012-02-04)
Economic and Political Weekly, 46(5) (pp. 46-53)
Conceptualising the art of communist times (2010-08)
Third Text, 24(5) (pp. 571-582)
Conceptualising classroom observations for a project on higher education English studies in non-Anglophone contexts (2010-06)
American, British and Canadian Studies, 14 (pp. 151-167)
Critical practice in the English Studies classroom: observations in Bulgaria (2010-05)
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)
Storia della Storiografia, 55 (pp. 128-143)
Editorial: Writing China (2008-10)
Wasafiri, 23(3) (pp. 1-4)
Li Rui, Mo Yan, Yan Lianke and Lin Bai: four contemporary Chinese writers interviewed (2008-09)
Wasafiri, 23(3) (pp. 28-36)
Sociological speculations on the professions of children’s literature (2005-09)
The Lion and the Unicorn, 29(3) (pp. 299-323)
In search of genius: T.S. Eliot as publisher (2003-10)
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 (2015-07-28)
ISBN : 9781137537829 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London
Reconsidering English Studies in Indian Higher Education (2015-05-01)
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 (2015-02-20)
New Directions in Book History
ISBN : 9781137489296 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Contemporary Literature: The Basics (2011-10-26)
ISBN : 978-0-415-66871-2 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Imagining Iraq: Literature in English and the Iraq Invasion (2011-01)
ISBN : 9780230278752 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Globalization and Literature (2009)
ISBN : 9780745640235 | Publisher : Polity | Published : Cambridge
Re-Reading Harry Potter (2nd Edn) (2009)
ISBN : 9780230219588 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Houndmills
Social constructionist identity politics and literary studies (2007-01)
ISBN : 230500471 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
Theory and reality of democracy: a case study in Iraq (2006-03-01)
ISBN : 826488358 | Publisher : Continuum | Published : UK
Re-reading Harry Potter (2003-05)
ISBN : 1403912653 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
The replication of violence: thoughts on international terrorism after September 11th 2001 (2002-07)
ISBN : 074531953X | Publisher : Pluto Press | Published : London, UK
Corporate capitalism and political philosophy (2001-12)
ISBN : 745317553 | Publisher : Pluto | Published : London, UK
Media-Framing Analysis, One-Word Framing and ‘Austerity’ (2017-09-13)
In: Papaioannou, Tao and Gupta, Suman eds. Media Representations of Anti-Austerity Protests in the EU: Grievances, Identities and Agency
ISBN : 9781315542904 | Publisher : Routledge
On Mapping Genre: Literary Fiction/Genre Fiction and Globalization Processes (2015-10-14)
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
ISBN : 9789544235680 | Publisher : University of Plovdiv Press | Published : Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Looking for something (2010)
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)
In: Maybin, Janet and Watson, Nicola J. eds. Children’s Literature: Approaches and Territories
ISBN : 9780230227132 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
The origins and impact of outsourcing: reconfiguring the post-colonial city (2009)
In: Gupta, Suman; Basu, Tapan and Chattarji, Subarno eds. Globalization in India: Contents and Discontents
ISBN : 9788131719886 | Publisher : Pearson | Published : Delhi
The place of theory in literary disciplines (2009)
In: Da Sousa Correa, Delia and Owens, W. R. eds. The Handbook to Literary Research
ISBN : 978-0-415-48500-5 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Institutional histories of literary disciplines (2009)
In: Da Sousa Correa, Delia and Owens, W. R. eds. The Handbook to Literary Research
ISBN : 9780415497329 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Xenophobia and the academic disposition of migration studies (2008)
In: Ivanov, Zhivko and Katsarska, Milena eds. Migration, Modern Nationalism, and Nostalgia for the Homeland
ISBN : 9789544234225 | Publisher : Plovdiv University Press | Published : Plovdiv
Race and Crisis (2018-11-13)
Gupta, Suman and Virdee, Satnam eds.
Ethnic & Racial Studies
ISBN : 9781138393707 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
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.