I am a scholar of nineteenth-century British and French literature with broad expertise in queer and feminist theory, critical race, postcolonial, and decolonial theory, psychonanalysis, and continental philosophy. I have taught in the department of Gender and Women’s Studies at Loyola Marymount University, and the School of Critical Studies at CalArts. My first book, "Feminine Singularity: The Politics of Subjectivity in Nineteenth-Century Literature" (Stanford University Press, 2022), argues that there are figurations of the feminine across literary genres in the nineteenth century that are not accessible through the frameworks of liberal individualism. I offer the term singularity instead to describe a model of subjecthood grounded in what is partial, contingent, and in relation, rather than what is merely “alone.” I am the editor of George Eliot's Middlemarch (A Norton Critical Edition, January 2024). I have also co-edited a special issue of Victorian Studies (with Alicia Mireles Christoff and Amy R. Wong, 2020) and cowritten an introductory essay, "Undisciplining Victorian Studies," which won the NAVSA Donald Gray Prize for Best Essay in Victorian Studies. I'm currently at work on a second book project addressing diagrams and the diagrammatic in the work of George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, W.E.B. Du Bois, and the artist Zarina Heshmi. My essays and reviews have been published in differences, Mediations, Victorian Literature and Culture, Nineteenth-Century Literature, ASAP Journal, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Inquiry, and other publications. From 2021-2023, my research is supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (30,000$).
This Norton Critical Edition includes:
- The 1874 corrected edition of the text, with small textual variations from Eliot’s manuscript.
- Introductory materials and explanatory footnotes by Ronjaunee Chatterjee.
- Twenty-three background selections from Eliot’s correspondence, journals, and other writings.
- Seventeen critical responses, including five contemporary reactions and twelve critical analyses of the novel’s most important themes.
- A chronology of Eliot’s life and a selected bibliography.
What happens if we read nineteenth-century and Victorian texts not for the autonomous liberal subject, but for singularity—for what is partial, contingent, and in relation, rather than what is merely "alone"? Feminine Singularity offers a powerful feminist theory of the subject—and shows us paths to thinking subjectivity, race, and gender anew in literature and in our wider social world.
Through fresh, sophisticated readings of Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti, Charles Baudelaire, and Wilkie Collins in conversation with psychoanalysis, Black feminist and queer-of-color theory, and continental philosophy, Ronjaunee Chatterjee uncovers a lexicon of feminine singularity that manifests across poetry and prose through likeness and minimal difference, rather than individuality and identity. Reading for singularity shows us the ways femininity is fundamentally entangled with racial difference in the nineteenth century and well into the contemporary, as well as how rigid categories can be unsettled and upended.
Grappling with the ongoing violence embedded in the Western liberal imaginary, Feminine Singularity invites readers to commune with the subversive potentials in nineteenth-century literature for thinking subjectivity today.
- Feminine Singularity: The Politics of Subjectivity in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Stanford University Press, August 2022)
- Editor, Middlemarch by George Eliot (Norton Critical Editions, 2023)
- Co-editor, "Undisciplining Victorian Studies." Special Issue of Victorian Studies 62, no. 3 (Spring 2020)
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- "Realism and Gender." Forthcoming in Realism and the Novel: A Literary History (Cambridge UP).
- “Bearing the Intolerable: Analytic Love.” differences: a Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 33: 2-3 (2022).
- “Middlemarch: A Grown-Up Novel.” George Eliot—George Henry Lewes Studies 2:21 (2021).
- Introduction (co-written with Alicia Mireles Christoff and Amy R. Wong), “Undisciplining Victorian Studies.” Special Issue of Victorian Studies 62: 3 (Spring 2020). Winner of the NAVSA Donald Gray Prize.
- Precarious Lives: Christina Rossetti and the Form of Likeness.” Victorian Literature and Culture 45:4 (2017).
- “Charles Baudelaire and Feminine Singularity.” French Studies 70:1 (January 2016).
- “The Colonial Mentality: Past and Present.” Review of The Global Indies by Ashley Cohen. The Los Angeles Review of Books (3 September 2021)
- “Figure / Ground.” Response to The Afterlife of Enclosure: British Realism, Character, and the Commons by Carolyn Lesjak. Mediations: Journal of the Marxist Literary Group (September 2021).
- “Closed off and Already Over?” Review Essay on Worlds Enough: The Invention of Realism in the Victorian Novel by Elaine Freedgood. Syndicate Literature (January 2021).
- Replotting Marriage in the Nineteenth Century ed. Jill Galvan and Elsie Michie. Nineteenth-Century Literature 74.1(2019).
- Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings: The Emotional Cost of Everyday Life by Mari Ruti. ASAP/Journal (2018).
- Willful Submissions: Sado-Erotics and Heavenly Marriage in Victorian Religious Poetry by Amanda Paxton. Nineteenth-Century Contexts 40:2 (2018).
- Multimedia Archaeologies: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Belle Époque Paris, and the Total Artwork by Andrea Mirabile. Comparative Literature Studies 53:1 (2016).
Essays and Public Writing
- “Undisciplining Victorian Studies” (co-written with Alicia Mireles Christoff and Amy R. Wong). Los Angeles Review of Books, 10 July 2020.
- “Politics, Inclusion, and Social Practice.” V21 Collective, 12 December 2016.
- “Thinking Singularity.” V21 Collective, 20 April 2015.
- “Ghostbusters.” Review of A Life with Mary Shelley by Barbara Johnson. The New Inquiry, 14 October 2014.
- “The Sins of the Fathers.” Review of Élizabeth Roudinesco’s Lacan in Spite of Everything.” Los Angeles Review of Books, 1 June 2014.
- “Alain Badiou in Southern California: A Politics of the Impossible.” Los Angeles Review of Books, 6 February 2014.
- “Hitting on Infinity.” Review of Mari Ruti’s The Singularity of Being.” Los Angeles Review of Books, 27 August 2013.
- Review of Amit Chaudhuri’s Calcutta. The Rumpus, 25 April 2013.
Upcoming Invited Talks
- Book Launch for Feminine Singularity with the Psychosocial Foundation, virtual (Dec 4th)
- Presentation at the 18th and 19th-Century Colloquium, Yale University (Dec 8th)
- Seminar on Middlemarch at the 92Y, virtual (Jan/Feb/March 2023)
- Roundtable on Love, Psychosocial Foundation (March 18th, 2023)
- Critical Speaker Series, UNC Dept of English (March 22-24, 2023)
- Book Talk at Northwestern University, virtual (April 27th, 2023)
- Keynote Speaker, British Women Writers' Conference, UVA (May 24-28, 2023)