Seminar:Remembering Bangladesh: Narrating the Nation from the Transnational in Tahmima Anam

Speaker: Dr. Antara Chatterjee

Seminar:Remembering Bangladesh: Narrating the Nation from the Transnational in Tahmima Anam


This presentation draws on her doctoral research and subsequent work on the fiction of Bengali authors, from India and Bangladesh, living in diaspora. In this presentation, her focus on the writing of the Britain based Bangladeshi author, Tahmima Anam. Her talk will examine how ideas of the nation and the intimate nexus between nation, identity and history are constructed and complicated in her fiction. Though inhabiting a diasporic, ‘transnational’ space herself, her writing is distinctly national, recuperating a Bangladeshi national narrative from her diasporic position. Her writing thus complicates the unidirectional trajectories from origins to migrant destinations, in which diasporic authors are often cast, and the foregrounding, within diaspora studies, of the influence of and impact on the host culture of diasporic cultural production, rather than on the country of origin.

By examining this dialectics between her transnational location and her national narration, her aim to bring to the fore connections between the global and the local or regional, and the multiple political and cultural forms of citizenship that may tie individuals to their societies of origin and settlement. Through her fiction therefore, Anam, participates and intervenes in contemporary discourses about nation, post-nation, nationalism and transnationalism.

Her argue that Anam’s fiction reassesses the idea of the nation in significant ways. Though her Bangladeshi origin and national, cultural affiliation admittedly motivates her fiction, arising out of a desire to assert its distinctiveness from the rest of South Asian identity, and to decentre the cultural hegemony of India in the subcontinent, her fiction simultaneously reveals subcontinental identities and national trajectories as intimately connected and mutually constituted. The particular difficult and fraught national history of Bangladesh that she narrates in her fiction is also to be viewed within a relational, laterally connected subcontinental context, thereby foregrounding a national narrative which is simultaneously regionally constituted. Moreoever, Anam’s gendered re-imagining of the nation rethinks the nation in terms of gender and agency.  

Dr Antara Chatterjee: Bio-Note 

Dr Antara Chatterjee works as Assistant Professor of English in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research), Bhopal. She pursued her studies (B.A and M.A) in English at Jadavpur University, Calcutta. After finishing her Ph.D. from the University of Leeds, U.K, on South Asian diasporic literature and cultures, she worked on a postdoctoral short-term research project on narratives of Indian craft and colonial consumption in nineteenth century Britain, funded by the Charles Wallace India Trust and the Indian Council of Historical Research. 

Her research interests include Indian writing in English, South Asian diasporic literatures, Partition and memory, cultural production from post-insurgency Kashmir, the Kashmir shawl and cultures of consumption in nineteenth century Britain, and contemporary Bengali cinema. She has been awarded a UGC Minor Research Project grant for her project ‘‘‘Paradise Lost’’: Violence, Trauma and Memory in Cultural Production from Post-Insurgency Kashmir’ in 2017. She has also been selected for the Associateship Programme at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, for a research tenure for three years (2016-18) to work on the same project.  She has peer-reviewed publications in the international journal South Asian Review, and in the edited collection The Postcolonial Short Story: Contemporary Essays (Palgrave Macmillan). She has presented her research at many international conferences in Europe and India.   

Event Date: 
Friday, 28 April 2017 - 2:30pm
Seminar Hall, Department of HSS
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai