Dr Asha Varadharajan

PhD Saskatchewan

Contact Information

Office: Watson 433
Office Hours:
Extension: 74420
E-mail: varadhar@queensu.ca
Web Site: http://post.queensu.ca/~varadhar/

Research Interests

Postcolonial literatures and studies in globalization and culture, literary theory (Marxism, post-structuralism, feminism and psychoanalysis), cultural studies, critical race theories and multiculturalism, Adorno and the Frankfurt School, violence, civil society, and the bio-politics of citizenship.

Recent Publications

  • “The Unsettling Legacy of Harold Bloom’s The Anxiety of Influence,” Modern Language Quarterly 69 (2008): 461–80 (special issue ed. Andrew Elfenbein).
  • “Afterword: The Phenomenology of Violence and the Politics of Becoming,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 28 (2008): 124–141 (special issue entitled Narrative Violence: Africa and the Middle East, ed. Nouri Gana and Heike Harting).
  • “Why Still Adorno Or, The Impossible Morality of Thinking,” Adorno and the Need in Thinking, ed. Donald Burke, Jonathan Short, Kathy Kiloh (University of Toronto Press, 2007).
  • “Hanif Kureishi” to “Nick Hornby” and “Eric Idle,” Twentieth-Century British Literary Humorists, ed. Paul Matthew St. Pierre,Dictionary of Literary Biography (forthcoming July 2009).
  • “The Language of the Unrequited: Memory, Aspiration, and Antagonism in the Utopian Imagination of Edward W. Said,” Edward W. Said: Emancipation and Representation, ed. Adel Iskandar and Hakem Rustom (Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming).


I am the author of Exotic Parodies: Subjectivity in Adorno, Said, and Spivak (University of Minnesota Press, 1995) and of published essays on “the university in ruins” (University of Toronto Quarterly 1997), multiculturalism and indigeneity in Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision (University of British Columbia Press, 2000), “working class fictions” in Modern Fiction Studies (2001), and on nomad thought and biopolitics in the Working Papers Series of the Institute for the Study of Globalization and the Human Condition (2002). Various other forthcoming or incipient publications (the titles are still tentative) include “Enchantment and Deracination: The Representation of Foreignness in Contemporary Cinema,” “The Anxiety of Influence Revisited,” “Subjectivity, Citizenship, and the Postcolonial State,” and an essay that wants to but hasn’t figured out how to weave together Paul Virilio, Iain Sinclair, and Michel Foucault!

I have been invited to present talks at a range of institutions in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. These institutions include Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Oxford, Leeds, Edinburgh, Woollongong, Queensland, Western Australia, Toronto, Western Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier, Guelph, York, and Concordia. I have also continued to maintain ties with more “public” forums like Alphabet City in Toronto and Suspect Culture in Glasgow. Most recently, I have experienced both the pleasure and difficulty of intense interdisciplinary engagement at the Seminars in Experimental Critical Theory at the University of California, Irvine, entitled “Cartographies of the Theological-Political” (2007) and “Present Tense-Empires, Race, Bio-Politics” (2005) respectively; and at the World International Studies Conference in Istanbul. My work on editorial boards of journals, as a manuscript referee for university presses, and on the executive of the MLA in various capacities keeps me attuned to the challenge of new ideas and to what it means to profess the humanities in what can often seem like perennial crisis.

I welcome dissertation projects that produce intersections between modes of representation, disciplines, histories, discourses, and worlds. I am interested in a broad range of modern, postmodern, and contemporary (particularly diasporic and minority) literatures as well as in multiple forms of expression—film, music, digital and cyborg cultures, and anything that fancies itself a denizen of the underground. While my training has been in the intersections between culture and imperialism dating roughly from about the eighteenth century, I am keen to explore the legacy of the Enlightenment in contemporary forms of neo-liberalism, in religious fundamentalisms, and in information and bio-political technologies. I like to define my approach to intellectual endeavour as substantial eclecticism!