Debayudh Chatterjee

Profile picture for Debayudh Chatterjee

Contact Information

240 [English Building]
Mailbox: 180

Office Hours

Fall 2019; M,W,F: 10.15-11.45 am. By appointment
PhD Student
Teaching Assistant

Biography

I identify myself as a counterculturist who is intrigued by how individual and collective subversions and transgressions are reflected in the form and content of cultural texts. Therefore, my biography could be called a recollection of studying articulations of dissent, desire, disobedience, and non-conformity against the hegemonies that configure time and space. Poetry is my first love; closely followed by political thought and sports. I'm intrinsically bilingual and essentially inter-disciplinary in my approach. 

I work across genres and languages. My MPhil dissertation, Class vs Caste: Negotiating Communist Ideology in Bangla Dalit Literature, scrutinized how the left-wing movement(s) and the anti-caste struggle in postcolonial West Bengal (1977-2011) dealt with each other through moments of confluence and conflict. While being employed alongside as a Project Fellow (my first job!) at the same department, my job and research complemented each other. My task comprised a series of ethnographic assignments: locating and archiving rare Bangla Dalit texts to set up the Centre for Dalit Studies library, and conducting interviews of under-caste writers and activists striving in the grassroots outside public gaze. Simultaneously, the elaborate coursework as a part of the MPhil program offered by my department granted me the scope to pursue an ancillary inclination in the Hungryalist movement. In one of my term papers, I brought into consideration the under-caste subjectivity of Debi Roy, a pioneering figure of this movement, and analyzed how he was deliberately marginalized for his ‘low origin’.  Although my thrust area largely constituted Indian literature, an MPhil course on the representations of the Vietnam War in American literature renewed my lifelong interest in America of the sixties. Right from my undergraduate days, I am fascinated by these dissident cultural activists. What struck me during my enquiry was how such a political zeal and poetic ecstasy were mediated through an engagement with legal and illegal drugs. My term paper for this course, The mellow High' and the 'psychedelic War' : The Rise of Marijuana, the (Counter)-Culture of Dissidence, and the Fall of the American Army in the Vietnam War, employed a Focauldian framework to argue how psychotropic drugs, especially marijuana, played a pivotal role in constructing and circulating a politics of dissent.

I worked as a part-time faculty at three colleges registered with Calcutta University from 2017 and 19. In those two years, I taught texts from the long eighteenth century, Romantic literature, Joseph Conrad, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Hardy, and war poetry to undergraduate students. 

 

Research Interests

Drugs and Counterculture, Avant-garde literature, Marxist theory and left-wing politics in India, Twentieth-century American literature, Romanticism(s), Dalit Studies, Modern Bengali Poetry

Research Description

In my PhD, I look forward to conducting a comparative analysis between the countercultural trends in America and India during the fifties, sixties, and seventies. I am fascinated by the Beats and the Hippies that raged post-war America not only as they were reflected in literature, music, or art, but also in matters pertaining to lifestyle, such as the consumption of drugs. I propose to theorise and interrogate how these movements interacted with the countercultural scene in India. I also take active interest in Romanticism, Modernism, continental philosophy, and critical theory. 

Education

M.Phil. (Department of English/ University of Delhi; 2017)

M.A. (Department of English/Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi; 2015)

B.A. (Department of English/Jadavpur University; 2013)

Awards and Honors

 

  • First Rank Holder in M.A. Final examination in English, Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, South Campus, New Delhi- 110021, Certificate & Medal. 2015
  • First Rank Holder in M.A. Previous examination in English, Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, South Campus, New Delhi- 110021, Certificate & Medal. 2014
  • Late Santosh Kumar Das Memorial Poetry Award 2018. Cash Prize and Trophy.
  • Winner.  Hir-Pithara Youth Poetry Contest. Indian Habitat Centre. Samanvay 2015. Certificate.

 

Courses Taught

Rhetoric 105

Highlighted Publications

 

  • Chatterjee, Debayudh. “The Importance of Being Debi Roy, or an Episode of Caste Intolerance among the Bengali Intelligentsia and Strategies of Subjective Resistance in the Sixties.” The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, vol. 15, 2018. 65-87. [ISSN: 0973-8737] Print.
  • Chatterjee, Debayudh. "The 'mellow High' and the 'psychedelic War' : The Rise of Marijuana, the (Counter)-Culture of Dissidence, and the Fall of the American Army in the Vietnam War." ESharp 25.1 (2017): 32-44. University of Glasgow. Arts Sharp. [ISSN: 1742-4542] http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_529630_en.pdf

 

Recent Publications

 

  • Chatterjee, Debayudh. "Stories of Survival: Constructing Dalit Consciousness in Fourth World Fiction." Multicoloured Glass: Studies on Indian Short Stories. Ed. Saikat Guha. New Delhi: Authors, 2017. 137-146 Print. [ISBN 978-93-5207-5821-9]
  • Chatterjee, Debayudh. “Confessions of a Namasudra Communist.” Indian Cultural Forum, 17 June 2017, indianculturalforum.in/2017/06/17/confessions-of-a-namasudra-communist/.