An Interview with Ania Loomba and Suvir Kaul

Johnson, David (2019). An Interview with Ania Loomba and Suvir Kaul. Wasafiri, 34(1) pp. 52–57.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02690055.2019.1539545

Abstract

Ania Loomba and Suvir Kaul are leading figures in Anglo-American and Indian literary studies, bringing a radical political sensibility to the understanding of Renaissance and eighteenth-century writing, as well as to contemporary postcolonial literary cultures. Loomba’s Gender, Race, Renaissance Drama, opened up new fields of inquiry by interpreting Renaissance literary texts in relation to issues of race and colonialism, and her subsequent books have continued to pursue such critical questions in highly original directions — Postcolonial Shakespeares (co-edited with Martin Orkin), Shakespeare, Race and Colonialism, Race in Early Modern England, and Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies (co-edited with Melissa Sanchez). In parallel with her work on early modern culture, Loomba has definitively shaped debates in postcolonial and South Asian studies in Colonialism/Postcolonialism, South Asian Feminisms (co-edited with Ritty A. Lukose) and her latest book, Revolutionary Desires. Kaul has written three discipline-transforming books relating eighteenth-century British literary culture to its formative colonial contexts: Thomas Gray and Literary Authority, Poems of Nation, Anthems of Empire and Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Postcolonial Studies. His simultaneous interest in the recent political histories of India and Kashmir is expressed in the well-received and widely cited edited collections The Partitions of Memory and Of Gardens and Graves: Essays on Kashmir; Poems in Translation. Loomba and Kaul’s Postcolonial Studies and Beyond (co-edited with Antoinette Burton, Matt Bunzl and Jed Esty) remains the most vivid and engaging interdisciplinary overview of the field. Both currently teaching in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania, Loomba and Kaul visited London in the summer of 2018, and were interviewed on 4 June by David Johnson at the Open University in Camden.

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