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Sandeep Banerjee (G'13)

Sandeep Banerjee (G'13)


Assistant Professor of English




Sandeep Banerjee (G'13)

Sandeep graduated from the English PhD program in 2013, and is now Assistant Professor in the Department of English at McGill University in Montréal, QC. His dissertation was titled Landscaping India: From Colony to Postcolony. Currently, he working on his monograph on the role of literary landscapes in shaping the idea of an Indian nation in colonial India; a second project — on the colonial Himalaya and the literary imagination, 1800-1950 — is also underway, funded by a grant from the Fonds de recherche du Québec–Société et culture (FRQSC). He is a Faculty Fellow (2016-2018) at McGill University’s Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI); he is also a member of the MLA, the ACLA, and the Marxist Literary Group.

What was your area of research as a PhD student?
My research areas included postcolonial and world literatures; Marxism; aesthetics and uneven development; production of space and nature; nationalism; and the cultural responses to British imperialism during the Long Nineteenth Century, especially in South Asia.

What activities and groups were you involved in?
As a Syracuse University Dissertation Fellow, I organized a public lecture and seminar as part of the Humanities Center Dissertation Fellows Symposium. I was an active member of the English Graduate Organization (EGO) and served as the elected Graduate Representative (2010-11). I was also a nominated Graduate Student Representative at the Promotion and Tenure Committee of Syracuse’s College of Arts and Sciences.

What was your first job after graduation?
I was offered the position of Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in the Department of English at Colgate University (Hamilton, NY). I declined it for the position of Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in the Department of English at McGill University.

How has your experience as a PhD student at Syracuse helped you succeed?
At Syracuse, the exceptional training and encouragement I received, especially from the faculty members I worked with, helped me immensely for a subsequent career in the academe. The opportunity to take courses outside the English department — I took several courses in Geography — led me to fascinating interdisciplinary conversations that helped frame my dissertation project. I had the opportunity to teach my own courses and design my syllabi while having faculty mentors I could turn to for help and feedback. The Future Professoriate Project workshops (conducted by Dr. Crystal Bartolovich during my time) were excellent venues to raise questions on these, in addition to discussing teaching strategies, grading criteria, curriculum design, and overall pedagogical goals. EGO's Negotiations provided an ideal place and atmosphere to present papers and get feedback from departmental peers and faculty. The workshops conducted by departmental faculty on various academic issues were extremely useful. I also planned academic events and worked out how to fund them; debated with colleagues — and sought to build consensus — on how best to advocate our interests with faculty; and (as EGO’s representative) voted on key departmental decisions. All of these are essential training for a life in the academe.

My dissertation was co-supervised by Dr. Crystal Bartolovich (English) and Dr. Don Mitchell (Geography). They were demanding mentors who were always critically engaged and profoundly supportive, intellectually and professionally. They helped me grow as a scholar, and enabled me to situate my project in relation to extant and emerging scholarship both within and outside my home discipline of literary and cultural studies. Dr. Donald Morton was generous with his time and learning, introducing me to the stimulating and challenging world of “Theory.” Dr. Kevin Morrison was a delightful interlocutor, who helped align my interest in British imperialism with Victorian literary and cultural studies. They were always readily available and provided thoughtful academic and professional advice, clarifying conceptual issues besides helping me meet the demands of coursework, qualifying examinations, academic publishing, grant-writing, conferences, and – crucially – the academic job market. As an international student at Syracuse, the unfailing assistance of Terri Zollo, the English Graduate Coordinator, was invaluable for navigating various administrative hurdles.

Sandeep lives in Montréal where he has an evolving relationship with the poutine. He is planning to learn French, the clarinet, and driving.