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creative:impact - Will Love Conquer All In The New Year?

Debotri Dhar
Debotri Dhar

From romance to politics, Dr. Debotri Dhar has studied the culture of love across the world.  Her book "Love is Not a Word: The Culture and Politics of Desire," published this summer, explores the emotion of love and the centuries of cultural habits and influence it carries.  Does she herself believe in romance and love?  Find out when she joins Deb Polich of The Arts Alliance and WEMU's David Fair on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.

Deb Polich
Deb Polich, President and CEO of The Arts Alliance

Creative industries in Washtenaw County add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.  In the weeks and months to come, 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and co-host Deb Polich, the President and CEO of The Arts Alliance, explore the myriad of contributors that make up the creative sector in Washtenaw County.


Debotri Dhar
Credit University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts / lsa.umich.edu
Dr. Debotri Dhar

Author.  Educator.  Editor.  Traveler.

Dr. Debotri Dhar has lived multiple lives in India, the United States, United Kingdom, and other named and unnamed countries in-between.  The author of novels, short stories, curated and edited scholarly volumes, essays, academic articles, and newspaper columns, she loves juggling the critical and the creative.

Dr. Dhar earned a Bachelors in Economics from Delhi University (India), a Masters in Women's Studies, with distinction, from the University of Oxford (UK), a Ph.D in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University (USA), and currently teaches Women's Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, USA.  She has given papers, invited presentations, and talks at universities such as Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Boston, U-Penn, Michigan, Delhi, Oxford and elsewhere, while also speaking in non-university settings such as public libraries and the British Council as well as venues accessible to a wider public.  A recipient of several prizes in the US, Debotri was shortlisted for a Young Writers’ Award in India for her most recent novel.

Debotri’s other interests include music, painting, cinema, and the culinary arts.  She likes, in no particular order, mountains, middle mists, fall colors, raindrops, riverside walks, the first snow of the season, hope, and hummingbirds.  She is the Founder of The Hummingbird Global Writers' Circle.


Bachelors (Honors) in Economics, Delhi, India
Masters in Women's Studies (Distinction), Oxford University
PhD in Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University


Research and Teaching interests: Feminist thought; South Asian Studies; India; epistemology; gender, race, representation; transnational feminisms; gender violence and the state; women’s writing; Post-colonialism; culture and rights; love; women and religion; gender and education; interdisciplinary methods.

Academic awards, honors, judging and evaluation: Invited Expert Panelist, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowships; Invited Reviewer, National Women’s Studies Association Conference; Invited evaluator, Indian Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship; Judge, Barbara Deming Money for Women Fund for writers (New York); Center for the Education of Women Jean Campbell visiting scholarship (U-M); IDF Grant, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (U-M); Excellence Doctoral Fellowship (Rutgers University); Linda Rothman teaching award in Women’s Studies; South Asian Studies research award; Institute for Research on Women Graduate Fellowship; Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar (Boston University).

Courses taught: Feminist Thought; Women and Well Being in Literature; Sexual Violence and the State: Global Perspectives; Literature and Politics; Women, Culture, Society; Transnational Feminisms; The Gendered Body; Doing Feminist Research: Theory and practice; Gender and Representation: Narratives of the Nation; Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies; Gender and Bollywood; Knowledge and Power: Issues in Women’s Leadership; Feminist Leadership and Community Engagement.

Publications: Dr. Debotri Dhar has published over fifteen peer-reviewed papers and book chapters such as “Teaching Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own in a Feminist Classroom: An Intersectional, Transnational Perspective” in Feminist Formations; “Teaching Culture in a Globalized Era: Strategies from a Postcolonial Feminist Classroom” in Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy; “Feminist Agency, Postcoloniality and the Politics of Desire in Anita Nair’s Mistress” in Postcolonial Text; and “Teaching for the Future: Feminist Pedagogy and Humanitarian Education” in Education and Gender.

Dr. Dhar has edited, and written critical introductions to, interdisciplinary volumes of original papers such as Education and Gender (London, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014) and Love is Not a Word: The Culture and Politics of Desire (New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, 2020), and co-edited Education in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Islands (London, New York, Sydney, New Delhi: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017). She is now completing her next book on gender violence and the state.

Debotri also writes novels, short stories, essays, and newspaper columns.  "Postcards from Oxford," her single-authored book of stories on women and travel, was published in London and Kolkata in 2013, her novel "The Courtesans of Karim Street" (2015) was shortlisted for a Young Writers' Award, her short stories have appeared in literary magazines in USA, UK, India, Canada, New Zealand and elsewhere, and her long story “A Flute Called Radha” was published in a 2019 Penguin Random House anthology.  In 2018, she was invited to judge and guest-edit The Best Asian Short Stories (Kitaab, Singapore), a global contest for creative writers in/from Asia and the Asian diaspora. Her monthly column “An Indian Abroad” in The Sunday Guardian from New Delhi was immensely popular, and her literary essays such as “A Sense of Belonging” in OPEN Magazine (2017) have received thousands of circulations worldwide.

Conferences and Public Talks: Dr. Dhar has delivered over 25 conference papers, invited presentations, and talks at universities such as Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Boston, Michigan, Delhi, Oxford, Rutgers, Bonn and elsewhere, while also delivering educational talks such as at the British Council and in other non-university settings accessible to a wider public.

Additional notes: Dr. Dhar is the founder of the Hummingbird Global Writers’ Circle, a transnational “travelling” literary initiative to foster a love of books and ideas, cultural exchange, and global understanding through free community readings by established and emerging writers.  Her other interests include classical music, cinema, painting, and the culinary arts.


Debotri Dhar Official Site

Debotri Dhar Faculty Profile

"Love Is Not A Word: The Culture and Politics of Desire," edited and with an introduction by Debotri Dhar

"Debotri Dhar’s compendium of love"

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Polich hosts the weekly segment creative:impact, which features creative people, jobs and businesses in the greater Ann Arbor area.
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