Book | 01 Jacques Lacan: From Clinic to Culture (Orient BlackSwan 2018)
This monograph provides an overview of Lacan’s significant psychoanalytic theories. It delves into the various ways in which Lacan made sense of the human subject, discusses the clinical structures of psychosis, neurosis and perversion, and uniquely demonstrates the application of Lacanian psychoanalytic criticism through a detailed analysis of John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Engaging with Lacan beyond the clinical context, the book also examines how Lacan’s work has been read in the domains of film studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies and deconstruction.
Book | 02 Holocaust vs. Popular Culture: Interrogating Incompatibility and Universalization (Routledge, 2023)
Holocaust vs. Popular Culture, a volume coedited by Mahitosh Mandal and Priyanka Das, debates and deconstructs the binary responses to the representation of the Holocaust in European and non-European forms of Popular Culture. The binary is defined in terms of "incompatibility" between the Holocaust and Popular Culture on the one hand and the "universalization" of the Holocaust memory through Popular Culture on the other. The book does emphasize the anti-representation argument. Nevertheless, the authors make a case for a productive understanding of "Holocaust Popular Culture" as contributing to the expansion of Holocaust studies as well as cultural studies in the transnational context. The book theorizes Popular Culture in broad terms and highlights the diversity of Holocaust Popular Culture mainly but not exclusively produced in the twenty-first century. This interdisciplinary collection covers a wide variety of Popular Culture genres including language, literature, films, television shows, soap operas, music, dance, social media, advertisements, comics, graphic novels, videogames, and museums. It studies the (mis)representation of the Holocaust trauma, not only across genres but also across nations (Western and Asian) and generations (from testimonial remembrance to post-memory).
This book will be of interest to students and scholars from a wide range of disciplines and subjects, including Popular Culture, Holocaust studies, cultural studies, genocide studies, postcolonial and transnational studies, media and film studies, visual culture, games studies, race and ethnicity studies, memory studies, and Jewish studies. Please check out the table of contents at the Routledge website.
PhD Thesis | Vivekananda and the Question of the Other: A Critique of Alterity and Subalternity (JU, 2019; Shodganga@INFLIBNET, 2022)
This thesis on the works of Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) is a humble attempt to understand how Vivekananda made sense of the marginalized, oppressed and subjugated groups of people across caste, gender, religion, and race, and what strategies he devised for the amelioration of their condition. In various ways, these groups constitute what in the twentieth century critical terminology is considered as “the other” (and I use the term consistently with a lower case “o”) – those who are designated not only as different from, but also projected as inferior to the dominant groups of people, the latter exercising their power and privilege to claim supremacy over the former. As a matter of fact, both these connotations, i.e. difference as well as inferiority, have triggered two additional terms “alterity” and “subalternity.” Thus, in the broader sense, my thesis also attempts a critique of alterity and subalternity from the perspective of Vivekananda. You can read the rest of the detailed synopsis of my thesis here. The thesis has been digitally published as an open access document on Shodganga: A Reservoir of Indian Theses @ INFLIBNET.
MPhil Thesis | A Psychoanalytical Study of Man-Woman Relationships in the Novels of John Fowles (JU, 2012)
In my MPhil thesis, I studied three novels of the British postmodernist author John Fowles in the light of a few key concepts of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, particularly the concepts of non-rapport, jouissance, sexuation, and the real. This research paved the way for several of my articles as well as my first book. I am currently expanding this thesis into a separate monograph which is under contract with Routledge
Research Paper | 01 "From the Social to the Clinical: Towards a Psychopathology of Everyday Casteism," Contemporary Voice of Dalit, OnlineFirst (12 December 2022), pp. 1-10.
Caste has predominantly been understood as a social problem. It is understood as a form of discrimination embedded in the Hindu society that promotes Brahmanical supremacy which, in turn, is founded on the ostracization and dehumanization of the Dalit subject. The great bulk of the existing scholarship on caste has been dedicated to exploring the history, politics, religiosity, anti-sociality and illegality of caste. This article is an emphatic attempt to redirect the field of Dalit studies from considering caste—casteism, to be more precise—as a social problem to defining it as a medical or clinical or psychological problem. It introduces the reader to the neglected trend of research on the interface between caste and mental health and advances the radical possibility of understanding caste as a form of psychopathology. It makes use of the relevant psychological and psychoanalytic concepts from Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung and Jacques Lacan and proposes to define casteism in conjunction with the psychology of racism as theorized by Franz Fanon and David Livingstone Smith.
Research Paper | 02 "Overcoming the Sokal Complex: Lacan, Psychoanalysis, and the Limits of Understanding," Lacunae: International Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis, vol. 24, (2022), pp. 82-120.
The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) was hailed, in his lifetime, as the most insightful reader of Sigmund Freud and a radical disseminator of Freudian discourse. However, responses to Lacan were not always positive as many also condemn(ed) him as an unoriginal mind, an intellectual impostor, a charlatan, a misogynist, and an arrogant obscurantist, among other things. This paper explains the clinical implications of such condemnation of Lacan and digs into the reasons for his dismissal. It proposes that the negative responses to Lacan – described as the Sokal Complex, a remarkable aspect of contemporary trends in reader response – are largely a product of a failure to overcome the hermeneutic challenges that his teaching poses to the reader. It analyzes four such challenges pertaining to Lacan’s works, i.e., unavailability, incomprehensibility, inapplicability and untheorizability. An exploration of these challenges demonstrates the politics/ethics at play in the publication of Lacan’s works, his discursive strategies as an analyst-teacher, his reservations about “applied psychoanalysis,” and his distancing from university discourses on theory. The apparent impasses of Lacan’s teaching, this paper claims, help establish the distinctness of psychoanalysis as an “epistemology of the clinical,” highlighting the radical differences between Lacan and poststructuralists, and offering valuable lessons in hermeneutics.
Paper | 03 "Dalit Resistance during the Bengal Renaissance: Five Anti-Caste Thinkers from Colonial Bengal, India," Caste: A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, vol. 3, no. 1, (2022), pp. 11-30.
This article debunks the myth that Bengal is a casteless land or that Bengalis have no understanding of caste, by excavating, from within a Dalit historiographical framework, the rich and heterogeneous anti-caste politico-intellectual tradition launched and carried forward by the Dalits in colonial Bengal. Due to the paucity of space, it focuses only on three among sixty Dalit communities residing in Bengal and demonstrates the radical edge of five diverse anti-caste thinkers, namely, Harichand Thakur, Guruchand Thakur, Mahendranath Karan, Rajendranath Sarkar, and Mahendranath Mallabarman. Through a critical rejection of nationalist, Marxist and subaltern historiographies and interrogation of the Brahmanical appropriation of Bengal's anti-caste tradition, it foregrounds the independent and self-critical intellectual history of the Dalits of colonial Bengal. It exposes the epistemic violence suffered by Dalit thinkers and reformers in the textbook historical narratives that glorify a Brahmanical Bengal Renaissance and highlights the neglected discourse of Dalit resistance and renaissance that had taken place at the same time in the same province. It shows how these anticaste organic intellectuals fought the Brahmanical supremacists during the anti-British movement led by the Brahmins and upper castes, and how their agendas of selfrespect and redistribution of wealth conflicted with the Swadeshi movement. Finally, the article demonstrates that while in the history of the anti-caste movement, Phule, Ambedkar, and Periyar justifiably occupy much of the discursive space, a significant and unacknowledged intellectual and political contribution was also made by their contemporary Bengali counterparts.
Paper | 04 “‘Eyes a man could drown in’: Phallic Myth and Femininity in John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory, vol. 19.no. 3, (2017), pp. 274-298.
This paper is a psychoanalytic study of “gender myths” as presented in John Fowles's famous novel The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969). It begins by describing Fowles's interest in Freudian psychoanalysis and his use of psychoanalytic ideas in constructing fictional characters. The paper subsequently explains how the concept of “postmodern indeterminacy” as found in Fowles's text needs to be read in connection with the “enigma” as embodied by Sarah Woodruff, the female protagonist. An attempt is then made to make sense of the “enigma of femininity,” a critical concern among the psychoanalysts. Elaborating on Lacanian developments and critique of Freudian ideas, this paper uses the psychoanalytic notions related to the truth of the feminine, fictionality of the masculine, jouissance, and sexual non-rapport to offer an analysis of the enigma of Sarah Woodruff, the failures of Charles Smithson the male protagonist, and the inconclusiveness of Fowles's narrative. The discussion highlights the link between feminism and Lacanian psychoanalysis on the question of construction of gender identities.
Paper | 05 “Rethinking Communism: The Bengali Film Ghya Chang Fou Sets a Milestone in Cinematic History,” Mise-en-scène: The Journal of Film & Visual Narration, vol. 4, no. 2, (2019), pp. 78-81.
This co-authored paper offers a critical response to Joyraj Bhattacharya's bold film Ghya Chang Fou in the context of rethinking Marxism in the twenty-first century.
Paper | 06 “Science, Love, Literature: John Donne and Constance Naden,” Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, vol. 3, no. 1, (2011), pp. 34-41.
This paper attempts to understand how science is blended with literature in John Donne and Constance Naden, how the blending is a patterned one, and how a new poetics is developed out of this. Along with this is analyzed how literature can become a valuable document for science, especially for recording its reception. Consequently, both the socio-cultural emergence and development of science and literature are considered.
Paper | 07 “‘Someone like Ashoka the Great will be born again to set up a casteless society’: An Interview with Manohar Mouli Biswas,” All About Ambedkar: A Journal on Theory and Praxis, vol. 2, no. 2, (2021), pp. 183-195.
Manohar Mouli Biswas (born 3 October 1943) is a long-time Dalit activist and writer from
West Bengal, president of Bangla Dalit Sahitya Sanstha, and vice-president of West Bengal Dalit Sahitya Academy. In this conversation with Mahitosh Mandal, conducted over email and face to face, Mr Biswas talks in-depth about his views on Dalit identity, casteism and the current state and future of anticaste politics in West Bengal, drawing on his lived experiences of casteism and anticaste activism, as well as his literary practice and membership of two important Dalit literary establishments. He also comments on religious conversion among Dalits in the current wave of saffronisation of India. The interview is supplemented by a select bibliography of Manohar Mouli Biswas.
Paper | 08 “Six Latest Titles on Ambedkar and Dalit Studies,” All About Ambedkar: A Journal on Theory and Praxis, vol. 1, no. 1, (2020), pp. 72-76.
In recent years, we have been witnessing a proliferation of English-language books related to Dalit Studies in general and Dr B R Ambedkar in particular. So much so that, for the benefit of the academic world, a frequent survey of the newly published books has become imperative. With this objective in mind, I intend to offer a short survey of some of the latest titles published in early 2020. Overall, these books make a crucial contribution to the field and need to be brought to the immediate attention not only of the experts but also the general reading public.
Book Chapter | 01 “Ambedkar the Thinker: A Class Apart.” In What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means to Me, edited by Ambedkar Age Collective, pp. 144-149. Hyderabad: The Shared Mirror, 2017.
Book Chapter | 02 “A House for Taslima: Reflections on an ‘Exilic’ Intellectual.” In The Diasporic Dilemma: Exile, Alienation and Belonging, edited by Pradipta Mukherjee and Sajal K. Bhattacharya, pp. 118-133. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2014.