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Sayandeb Chowdhury

Assistant Professor

MPhil in English Literature, Jadavpur University

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School of Letters

Education & Research

Mr Chowdhury was trained in English Literature with BA, MA and M.Phil from St Xavier's College (Calcutta University), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Jadavpur University, Calcutta. His M.Phil dissertation concerned post-Communist English-language fiction. While doing his M.Phil, he started teaching literature, first as guest and then as full-time faculty, at various degree colleges in Bengal. He taught for three years. The next phase of his professional life was spent in cultural journalism, part of editorial teams of several daily newspapers, including the DNA, Bombay and Hindustan Times, Delhi. He contributed editorials, comment-pieces, feature-articles, book and film reviews for a variety of publications. He returned to teaching full-time in 2011 when he joined Ambedkar University, Delhi as Assistant Professor of English in the School of Liberal Studies. He has recently moved to the School of Letters. His interests are in urban visual culture in modern Europe and South Asia, global Modernisms, contemporary European fiction, Adaptation Studies, modern Bengali literature & cinema, Marxist and Post-Marxist thought; and environmental humanities. He is currently PhD Fellow, Department of Film studies, Jadavpur University, Calcutta. The working title of his thesis is Visualising the City: Photography, Modernity and Calcutta (1860-1960).

Past Employment

Mr Chowdhury taught at Presidency College (which is now a University, Calcutta), Haldia Govt College, W Bengal and Charuchandra College, Calcutta. He was also a senior member of the Features Team at The Bengal Post, Calcutta, Hindustan Times (HT) Delhi and Daily News and Analysis (DNA), Bombay among others.


Papers Published

  1. A postcolonial iconi-city: Re-reading Uttam Kumar’s cinema as metropolar melodrama, Journal of South Asian History and Culture [Bengali Cinema: Star Texts, Genre, Tropes] 1382-5577.
    2017. Print. Routledge. Taylor & Francis. 10.1080/19472498.2017.1304090.

  2. Le pont sur le fleuve Hooghly: Modernité, Mobilité, Visualité [Bridge over river Hooghly: Modernity, mobility, visuality] Chapter 8 Pp 131-145 in L'entrée en ville: Aménager, Expérimenter, Représenter. Edited by Tatiana Debroux, Yannick Vanhaelen, Judith le Maire.  Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles. ISBN 9782800416168. 2017

  3. In Shakespeare’s Do We Trust? Chapter 5. Pp 83-106. Co-authored chapter with Zehra Mehdi. In Mistrust: Developmental, Cultural, and Clinical Realms. Edited by Salman Akhtar. Karnac Books. 2017 London. ISBN 9781782204886.

  4. Unveiling the Anthropo(s)cene: Burning Seas, Cinema of Mourning and the Globalisation of Apocalypse. Book Chapter in Sea Narratives: Cultural Responses to the Sea 1600-Present. Edited by Charlotte Mathieson. Chapter 9. Pp 217-238. Palgrave Macmillan, London. 2016. ISBN 978-1-137-58115-0 (Print). 978-1-137-58116-7 (ebk)

  5. The Indian Partition and the Making of New Scopic Regime in Bengali Cinema.
    European Journal of English Studies. [Spl Issue Poetics and Partition]. 19.3. pp 255-270.  
    [Published online March 30, 2016]. Routledge/Taylor & Francis. ISSN 1382-5577. Print Journal. 

  6. Ageless Hero, Sexless Man: A Possible Pre-History and Three Hypotheses On Satyajit Ray’s Feluda. South Asia Review, [Satyajit Ray Special Issue]. 36.1, 2015, p 109-130. ISSN 0275-9527. Print. Journal. [South Asia Review (SAR) is a refereed journal published by the South Asian Literary Association, an Allied Organization of the Modern Language Association of America (MLAA)]

  7. The Endangered City in Rituparno Ghosh’s Early Cinema of Confinement.
    Journal of South Asian History and Culture; 6:2. 2015. Pp 277-289. [published online January 19, 2015] Routledge /Taylor & Francis. ISSN 1947-2498: Print. Journal

  8. The Heroic Laughter of Modernity: The Life, Cinema and Afterlife of Bengali matinee idol Uttam Kumar. Film International. 10:04/05.Fall, 2012. Pp  82-91 Intellect, London. ISSN 1651-6826. Print. Journal.

  9. The Endangered City in Rituparno Ghosh’s Early Cinema of Confinement. Chapter 5. Pp 104-122. In Rituparno Ghosh: Cinema, Gender and Art. Edited by Sangeeta Dutta, Kaustav Bakhi & Rohit Dasgupta. Routledge (South Asian History and Culture Series). 2016. ISBN 9781138666788 (print). 9781315666761 (ebk).

Papers forthcoming

  1. The Spectral Coloniality of Calcutta’s Ochterlony.
    Book Chapter in Ideas of the City (IIAS/AUP Book Series Asian Cities, Volume 1).
    Edited by Henco Bekkering, Adèle Esposito and Charles Goldblum. Amsterdam University Press. Forthcoming. 

  2. The Indiscreet Charms of Spatial Ugliness: An Enquiry into a (Post)-colonial City.
    Book Chapter in On the Politics of Ugliness. Edited by Dr Ela Przybylo and Dr Sara Rodrigues. Palgrave Macmillan. Forthcoming.

  3. Calcutta in the present. Book Chapter in Cinematic Cityscapes: Global Approaches. Edited by Reena Dube. University of Nebraska Press. Forthcoming.

Publications in Cultural Press

  1. Book reviews

Economic and Political Weekly

  1. The Irrepressible city of Modernity, [Review of Tanika Sarkar and Sekhar Bandyopadhyay (ed) Calcutta: The Stormy Decades, New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2015] 51:20, 14 May, 2016, pp 28-31

Biblio: A Review of Books

  1. The Family and the City, [Review of Chandak Sengupta, The Rays Before Satyajit, Creativity and Modernity in Colonial India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi 2016], December 2016, p 23.

  2. The Fifties Moment [review of Aarti Wani, The Fantasy of Modernity: Romantic Love in Bombay Cinema of the 1950s, Cambridge University Press, 2016], XXI:4 April 2016, p 20.

  3. 14, Zakaria Street, [review of Kunal Basu, Kalkatta, Picador India 2015], XXI:1-3, Jan-March 2016, p 35.

  4. Passing Through the Popular, [review of Baradwaj Rangan, Dispatches from the Wall Corner: A Journey through Indian Cinema, Tranquebar, 2014], XIX:11-12, Nov-Dec 2014, p 32.

  5. All Fall Down, [review of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, One Amazing Thing, Penguin India, 2010] XV 5&6, May-June 2010.

Outlook Magazine

  1. ‘Crucible of intellect, [review of Patriots, Poets and Prisoners: Selections from Ramananda Chatterjee’s The Modern Review 1907-1947, HarperCollins 2016] Issue dated 17 October, 2016.

  2. The Shame Is Squarely On Them [review of Taslima Nasreen’s Exile, Penguin|Hamish Hamilton 2016]. Issue dated 12 December, 2016.

Other reviews in DNA, Hindustan Times & Sunday Post

Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation, Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memoirs of a City, Milan Kundera’s The Curtain, Dominique Lapierre’s Once Upon A Time In The Soviet Union, Paul Theroux’s The Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta, Sunil Gangopadhyay’s The Fakir, Chidananda Dasgupta’s Seeing is Believing: Selected Writings on Cinema.

  1. Opinion Page Articles (a selection)

Business Standard

  1. Being Human is so Yesterday, Opinion Page, April 8, 2017. [Article can be accessed at

Indian Express

  1. The More things remain the same, Edit page, April 5, 2016. [Article can be accessed at icle/elections-2016/opinion/columns/west-bengal-elections-2016-cpim-trinamool-congress-mamata-banerjee-bjp-the-more-things-remain-the-same/]

  2. Mamata Takes All, Edit page, May 21, 2016. [Article can be accessed at]

C. Features and Long-Form

  1. Bengali Cinema is Moribund and Smug in its Comfort Zone, published online June 25, 2016.

Caravan Magazine

  1. The Man Who Would Be King [on life and cinema of Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee] 7/2012; p 100-105

  2. Power to the Bourgeoisie: How the Left left Bengali Cinema, 12/2011; p 20-21

  3. Red Requiems: Three Movies that Examine Communism in a Revisionist Light, 10/2009;p 74-79

  4. Screened Out: Why an Appreciation of Bengali auteur Tapan Sinha is Much Overdue, 04/2009; p 59-62

Moving Arts Journal

  1. Postal-Failure: Why Indian Indie Favourite Aparna Sen’s The Japanese Wife Disappoints, [published online May 19, 2010] The essay can be accessed at

Art India Magazine

  1. Sights and Sites, Review of Gauri Gill and Seher Shah’s joint exhibition Ways of Seeing. XIX:II: Quarter II:2015, p 79-81

  2. The City of Continuous Contrasts, Review of Rathin Mitra’s Calcutta The City I love and Clyde Waddell’s A Yank’s Memories of Calcutta. XIX:II: Quarter II:2015, p 82-84

  3. Camera Femina, Review of Subjects and Spaces: Women in Indian Photography, 1850s to 1950s. XVIII: IV: Quarter IV: 2014, p 88-89

  4. The Final Frontier, Review of Sebastião Salgado’s exhibition Genesis [Natural History Museum, London, April-Sept, 2013] XVIII: II, Quarter II, 2014.

  5. Shot on Location, Review of Nemai Ghosh’s exhibitionSatyajit Ray and Beyond. XVII: III: Quarter III:2013, p 82-84

  6. Between Escape and Entrapment, Review of Pablo Bartholomew’s Calcutta Diaries, XVII: III: Quarter III: 2013, p 85-87

  7. A Course of Action, Report on ACUA Curatorship Programme, XVII: II: QuarterII:2013, p 42-43

  8. Film Fare, Review of Project Cinema City Exhibition.
    XVII: II: Quarter II: 2013,p 92-94

  9. The Oddball’s Wondrous Capers [A lead piece on the work of Sarnath Banerjee], Special Issue on Graphic Novel. XVI: IV: Quarter IV:2012, p 36-39

Editorials/Features in the Bengali Press

  1. JNU, Ekti Porikolpito Akromon (JNU, A Planned Assault) Editorial Pages, Ananda Bazar Patrika, 18, February, 2016.

  2. Americar Shotabdi: Notun Marxhader Khoje’ (The American Century? In search of Neo-Marxism) Editorial Pages, Ananda Bazar Patrika, 8th April 2003.

Seminar/Conference/Summer School

  1. Presented the paper A Bridge on River Hugli: Visualities, Regimes, Practices at the International seminar Entering the city: Spaces, transports, perceptions, and representations from the 18th century to the present. Brussels, 15 & 16 October, 2015. Conference hosted by MICM-ARC Research Project & Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. [Sponsored participant]

  2. Selected for Participation at the London Critical Theory Summer School
    at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, from July 1-July 12th, 2013.

  3. Presented the paper The Making of Calcutta as a Cinematic City at the Screen International Conference ‘Cosmopolitan Screens’. Organised by OUP journal Screen and Glasgow University, Glasgow, Scotland, 28-30th June, 2013.

  4. Presented the paper Across the Violent Seas: Aparna Sen's Yugant and the Furtive Arrival of Globalisation in Bengali Cinema at the Global Studies Conference, Global Studies Journal & Ambedkar University, Delhi, 5-7 September, 2013.

  5. Presented the paper Reasons of the State: Communist Politics and Open Society in Bengal at the International Society for Intellectual History Seminar Use and Abuse of Reason, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, 27-31st July, 2004. [Sponsored participant]

  6. Presented the paper Battala Literature and the History of its Production at the International Book History Seminar, Department of English, Jadavpur University, 2004.

  7. Presented the paper Why Aren’t there no Women in Feluda at the International Seminar Children’s Literature at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, 11-13th December, 2003.

  8. Presented the paper The Cultural Politics of Battala and the Re-interrogation of Postcolonial Peripheries at the Cultural Studies Workshop, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta & ENRECA Danida & SEPHIS, Shantiniketan,
    25–31 January, 2002.

  9. Presented the paper The disparate signifiers of the Body in Coleridge’s Divine Comedy at the International Seminar Rethinking Romanticism, Department of English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, February 8-9, 2001.

Professionl Activities/Awards


  • Mr Chowdhury was Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow to UK in 2016.
  • He was Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) Research Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), University of Leiden, the Netherlands from April-July, 2015.
  • He was University Research Fellow (URF) at the Department of English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta between January and November 2001.

Current Research Interests

Bringing together my long interest in popular culture, cinema and how cultural memory is re-produced, I am currently working on a book-length study, tentatively titled The Heroic Laughter of Modernity: The Life, Cinema and Afterlife of Bengali Matinee Idol Uttam Kumar. HarperCollins India is slated to publish the book in late 2017. My academic research has two parts. Part one looks at cultures and spaces of modernity, especially those that arise of the encounter between various visualities on one side- like photography and cinema - and between narrative literature and fiction on the other. Drawing from the first, the second part of his research enquires into the idea of the Modernist-postcolonial City as a cultural and architectural site of memory-making, visual meaning-making and cultural production. I also have interests in post-Marxism, adaptation studies and translation, animal studies and ecological humanities, some of which I would want to pursue in future.

My Zone