The Books on my Shelf

The books on my shelf reflect my scholarly interests, pleasures, and the places I have visited. I teach some of these books, while others are there because of my research, and some of them I just want to read. 

I love teaching the books that make me feel a part of something. For example, as I currently research Bangladeshi Anglophone women writers, I have realized that my shelf is now filled with their work. This project asks: how does a nation’s history shape its literature? How is political and economic history represented in the work? By writing in English, do authors limit or control readership and target intellectuals, or do they write for the common people? 

The decade of writing that I have selected for this research shows that most of the Bangladeshi English writers are diasporic female authors who have lived their entire lives outside of Bangladesh. In terms of context and setting, what see reflected in most of these writers’ works is post-liberation history and the related socio-political and economic reality. Are these authors rewriting the past in the hope of creating re-memory in us, or are there other, more direct reasons? I chose these texts in order to study how narrative language explores, reflects, and refracts complex historical and social reality.

We have been working online for the last year and I have not stepped into my office since then. But our campus is beautiful with a big cricket field in front. It is a green campus and promotes sustainable energy usage. Hence, big windows, open fields, and plenty of green space. 

I live in the capital city, Dhaka, of Bangladesh. The clinking of rickshaws (man-pulled three wheelers), the honking cars, taxis are the constant background noise. The busy road of Dhanmondi (the area where I live in Dhaka) has its cosmopolitan flavor – urbanity, fast life, big restaurants, supershops. The pandemic put a stop to the hectic city life of Dhaka for the first few months, but now it has gone back to its busy schedule. The mornings are filled with work-bound people and in the evenings one can see them returning with vegetables or grocery-filled bags. Some are lounging by the road and buying fritters, finger delicacies from the road-side vendors and gossiping with a group of friends or colleagues. As most of the time I am working from home now, I can hear the rush hour traffic/ honking from my study table and I can feel the adrenaline rush of being a part of it once upon a time.