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Sayandeb Chowdhury

Mr. Sayandeb Chowdhury

Assistant Professor

E-mail: sayandeb[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Assistant Professor , School of Letters


  • BA English, St Xavier's College (Calcutta University), 1998.
  • MA English, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2000.
  • M.Phil English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta 2002.
  • Dissertation title: The Etruscan Politics of the Hieroglyphic Body: Towards a Mythopeotics of the Postcommunist Subject. Advisor: Prof Santanu Biswas.
  • Doctoral Fellow, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, Calcutta 2014-Present. The working title of his thesis is Visualising the City: Photography, Modernity and Calcutta (1860-1960). Advisor: Prof Moinak Biswas

Past Experience

Mr Chowdhury taught at Presidency College (which is now a University, Calcutta), Haldia Govt College, W. Bengal and Charuchandra College, Calcutta. He was had a stint in the media, being a member of the Features Team at The Bengal Post, Calcutta, the editorial pages of Hindustan Times (HT) Delhi and Daily News and Analysis (DNA), Bombay among others. Since August 2011, he is at AUD.

My Zone / Area of Expertise

His academic research has two parts. Part one looks at cultures and spaces of modernity, especially those that arise of the encounter between various visualities on one side- like photography and cinema - and between narrative literature and fiction on the other. Drawing from the first, the second part of his research enquires into the idea of the postcolonial City as a cultural and architectural site of encounter, memory-making, visual meaning-making and cultural production. His another abiding interest is in adaptation studies and translation.

His areas of teaching and research interest are

  • History and politics of photography and visuality in colonial and postcolonial South Asia
  • Metropolar modernisms in Europe and South Asia
  • Urban Culture Studies
  • Ecological Humanities and Posthumanism
  • Shakespeare & Adaptation Studies

The courses he offers are:

  • Metropolis and Modernity I (PG)
  • Metropolis and Modernity II (PG)
  • Shakespeare on Screen (PG)· Photography: History, Theory, Practice (PG)
  • Literature and Cinema (UG)
  • Modernism in Europe (UG)

Book project:

Bringing together his interest in popular culture, Bengali cinema, star studies and cultural memory, he is currently finishing a book-length study on the life, cinema and afterlife of Bengali actor Uttam Kumar. This is not a biography of a matinee idol or a personal history. The book is primarily a contextual and intellectual history of Uttam Kumar’s cinema. It is also an exploration and interrogation of the star-persona in reconstituting the bhadrolok Bengali visual cultural world in the post-Partition period. Though the book is aimed as a serious work of cultural history, it is being written for a wider public, for a readership beyond the domain of academia. The book is due in the summer of 2020 from HarperCollins India. It is tentatively titled: A Hero of Our Time : The Life, Cinema, Afterlife of Uttam Kumar.


  • Mr Chowdhury delivered four lectures at the Refresher Course in English on Reading Literature at the UGC Human Resource Development Centre, University of North Bengal on January 17 and 18, 2018.
  • Mr Chowdhury delivered a talk at the invitation of Habitat Film Appreciation Forum (India Habitat Centre, Delhi) on Satyajit Ray’s Nayak (The Hero, 1966) on August 14, 2018.

His detail profile can be found in:



  • Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow to UK in 2016.
  • Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) Research Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), University of Leiden, the Netherlands from April-July, 2015.
  • University Research Fellow (URF) at the Department of English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta between January and November 2001.


  • ‘The Spectral Coloniality of Calcutta’s Ochterlony’, in Henco Bekkering, Adèle Esposito, Charles Goldblum (Ed) Ideas of the City in Asian Settings; Ch 2: 45-80. Amsterdam University Press, 2019. ISBN 9789462985612.
  • ‘The Indiscreet Charms of Spatial Ugliness: An Enquiry into a (Post)-colonial City’, in Ela Przybylo and Sara Rodrigues (Ed) On the Politics of Ugliness, Ch 8: 171-192; Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. ISBN 9783319767826.
  • ‘A postcolonial iconi-city: Re-reading Uttam Kumar’s cinema as metropolar melodrama’, Journal of South Asian History and Culture [Bengali Cinema: Star Texts, Genre, Tropes] 8:2:171-185; Routledge, Taylor & Francis. 2017. Print. ISBN 1382-5577.
  • ‘Le pont sur le fleuve Hooghly: Modernité, Mobilité, Visualité’ [Bridge over river Hooghly: Modernity, mobility, visuality] in Tatiana Debroux, Yannick Vanhaelen, Judith le Maire (Ed) L'entrée en ville: Aménager, Expérimenter, Représenter; Ch 8, pp 131-145; Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles. 2017. ISBN 9782800416168.
  • ‘In Shakespeare’s Do We Trust?’ (co-authored with Zehra Mehdi) in Salman Akhtar (Ed) Mistrust: Developmental, Cultural, and Clinical Realms; Ch 5, pp 83-106; Karnac Books/Routledge, London. 2017. ISBN 9781782204886.
  • ‘Unveiling the Anthropo(s)cene: Burning Seas, Cinema of Mourning and the Globalisation of Apocalypse’, in Charlotte Mathieson (Ed) Sea Narratives: Cultural Responses to the Sea 1600-Present; Ch 9, pp 217-238. Palgrave Macmillan, London. 2016. ISBN 978-1-137-58115-0 (Print). 978-1-137-58116-7 (ebk)
  • ‘The Indian Partition and the Making of New Scopic Regime in Bengali Cinema’, European Journal of English Studies. [Spl Issue Poetics and Partition]. 19.3:255-270. Routledge/Taylor & Francis. 2016. Print. ISSN 1382-5577.
  • ‘The Endangered City in Rituparno Ghosh’s Early Cinema of Confinement’, in Ed Sangeeta Dutta, Kaustav Bakhi & Rohit Dasgupta. (Ed) Rituparno Ghosh: Cinema, Gender and Art, Ch 5: 104-122. Routledge. 2016. ISBN 9781138666788 (print). 9781315666761 (ebk).
  • ‘Ageless Hero, Sexless Man: A Possible Pre-History and Three Hypotheses On Satyajit Ray’s Feluda’, South Asia Review, [Satyajit Ray Special Issue]. 36.1:109-130. Routledge/Taylor & Francis. 2015. Print. ISSN 0275-9527.
  • ‘The Heroic Laughter of Modernity: The Life, Cinema and Afterlife of Bengali matinee idol Uttam Kumar’, Film International. 10:04/05:82-91; Intellect, London. 2012. Print. ISSN 1651-6826.

Papers Republished

The Indian Partition and the Making of New Scopic Regime in Bengali Cinema, was selected from issues across 2015 to be part of 20 articles (one article per year) making up the 20th anniversary edition of European Journal of English Studies (Routledge/Taylor & Francis. ISSN 1382-5577). The link can be found here:

Papers forthcoming:

‘Calcutta in the Present (while also in Continuous Past)’ in Reena Dube (Ed) Cinematic Cityscapes: Global Approaches, University of Nebraska Press.

Publications in Cultural Press

Book reviews

  • Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)
  • ‘The Irrepressible city of Modernity’, [Review of Tanika Sarkar and Sekhar Bandyopadhyay (ed) Calcutta: The Stormy Decades , New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2015] 51:20, 14 May, 2016, pp 28-31
  • Biblio: A Review of Books
  • ‘A Divine Version of Ourselves’ [Review of Reza Aslan’s God: A Human History, Bantam Press/PRHI 2017]. XXIII:10–12 (Oct - Dec, 2018). P 38
  • ‘The Contradictory Bengali’ [Review of Sudeep Chakravarti’s The Bengalis: A Portrait of a Community, Aleph Book Company, 2017 & Parimal Ghosh’s What Happened to the Bhadrolok; Primus Books, 2016]. XXIII: 1-3 (Jan-Mar, 2018). P 32-33
  • ‘The Family and the City’ [Review of Chandak Sengupta’s The Rays Before Satyajit: Creativity and Modernity in Colonial India, OUP, 2016]. XX1:12 (Dec 2016). P 23.
  • ‘The Fifties Moment’ [Review of Aarti Wani’s The Fantasy of Modernity: Romantic Love in Bombay Cinema of the 1950s, Cambridge University Press, 2016]. XXI:4
  • (Apr, 2016). P 20.
  • ‘14, Zakaria Street’ [Review of Kunal Basu’s Kalkatta, Picador India 2015]. XXI:1-3 (Jan-Mar 2016). P 35.
  • ‘Passing Through the Popular’ [Review of Baradwaj Rangan, Dispatches from the Wall Corner: A Journey through Indian Cinema, Tranquebar, 2014], XIX:11-12 (Nov-Dec 2014). P 32.
  • ‘All Fall Down’ [Review of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing, Penguin India, 2010] XV:5-6 (May-June 2010).
  • Outlook Magazine
  • ‘The flaneur outpaces a tram’ [Review of Kushanava Choudhury’s The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta, Bloomsbury, 2017] Issue dated October 8, 2017.
  • ‘The Shame Is Squarely On Them’ [Review of Taslima Nasreen’s Exile, Penguin/Hamish Hamilton 2016]. Issue dated 12 December, 2016.
  • ‘Crucible of intellect’ [Review of Patriots, Poets and Prisoners: Selections from Ramananda Chatterjee’s The Modern Review 1907-1947, HarperCollins 2016] LVI: 41, p 88. October 17, 2016.

Opinion Page Articles (a selection)

The Wire

  • The PM as Pracharak, (co-authored with Rajendran Narayan), Opinion piece,, published online May 05, 2019.
  • Don’t Cry for CPI(M), published online, March 10, 2018.
  • Why Is the BJP Communalising West Bengal Instead of Offering It Good Governance? Published online, July 6, 2017.

Indian Express

  • No Saffron on the Plate, (co-authored with Anirban Biswas), Edit page,
  • March 30, 2019
  • Messenger as Mandate, Edit Page, December 19, 2018
  • It Ain’t No Revolution, Edit page, July 24, 2018
  • Mamata takes all, Edit page, May 21, 2016.
  • The more things remain the same, Edit page, April 5, 2016.

Business Standard

  • Mother Tongue, tied, Opinion Page, May 05, 2018
  • Finding Forever, Opinion Page, June 09, 2017.
  • Being Human is so Yesterday, Opinion Page, April 8, 2017.

Daily O

  • Durga Pujo was never overtly religious. Outrage over Jawed Habib ad is misplaced. September 08, 2017. [Article can be accessed at]

National Herald Online

  • 2. The political economy of deceit, September 01, 2017. [Article can be accessed at]

Features and Long-Form

The Wire

  • Stardust Memories: The Cosmopolitanism of Uttam Kumar and His Era-Defining Cinema, published online, July 24, 2017.
  • Bengali Cinema is Moribund and Smug in its Comfort Zone, published online, June 25, 2016.

Caravan Magazine

  • The Man Who Would Be King [on life and cinema of Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee] 7/2012; p 100-105
  • Power to the Bourgeoisie: How the Left left Bengali Cinema, 12/2011; p 20-21
  • Red Requiems: Three Movies that Examine Communism in a Revisionist Light, 10/2009; p 74-79
  • Screened Out: Why an Appreciation of Bengali auteur Tapan Sinha is Much Overdue, 04/2009; p 59-62

Moving Arts Journal

  • Postal-Failure: Why Indian Indie Favourite Aparna Sen’s The Japanese Wife Disappoints, [published online May 19, 2010] The essay can be accessed at

Art India Magazine

  • Sights and Sites, Review of Gauri Gill and Seher Shah’s joint exhibition ‘Ways of Seeing’. XIX:II: Quarter II:2015, p 79-81
  • The City of Continuous Contrasts, Review of Rathin Mitra’s ‘Calcutta The City I love’ and Clyde Waddell’s ‘A Yank’s Memories of Calcutta’. XIX:II: Quarter II:2015,
  • p 82-84
  • Camera Femina, Review of ‘Subjects and Spaces: Women in Indian Photography, 1850s to 1950s’. XVIII: IV: Quarter IV: 2014, p 88-89
  • The Final Frontier, Review of Sebastião Salgado’s exhibition ‘Genesis’ [Natural History Museum, London, April-Sept, 2013] XVIII: II, Quarter II, 2014.
  • Shot on Location, Review of Nemai Ghosh’s exhibition ‘Satyajit Ray and Beyond’ XVII: III: Quarter III:2013, p 82-84
  • Between Escape and Entrapment, Review of ‘Pablo Bartholomew’s Calcutta Diaries’, XVII: III: Quarter III: 2013, p 85-87
  • A Course of Action, Report on ACUA Curatorship Programme, XVII: II: QuarterII:2013, p 42-43
  • Film Fare, Review of ‘Project Cinema City’ Exhibition.
  • XVII: II: Quarter II: 2013,p 92-94
  • The Oddball’s Wondrous Capers [A lead piece on the work of Sarnath Banerjee], Special Issue on Graphic Novel. XVI: IV: Quarter IV:2012, p 36-39

Editorials in Bengali Press

  • ‘JNU, Ekti Porikolpito Akromon’ (JNU, A Planned Assault) Ananda Bazar Patrika, 18, February, 2016.
  • ‘Rajnitir chromagoto indhon, ucchasikkhar nabhishash’ (How rightist politics is killing higher education). Ei Somoi (Bengali Daily). March 29, 2018.
  • ‘Americar Shotabdi: Notun Marxhader Khoje’ (The American Century? In search of Neo-Marxism) Editorial Pages, Ananda Bazar Patrika, 8th April 2003.


Seminar / Conferences

  • Attended the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Summer School titled Calcutta: City/Contemporaneity between June 18-29, 2018 at Jadavpur University, Calcutta. The Summer School was co-hosted by Lingnan University, Hong Kong and Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore.
  • Attended the UGC-HRD 60th Orientation Programme at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, held from February 17- March 15, 2016.
  • Selected for Participation at the London Critical Theory Summer School
  • at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, from July 1-July 12th, 2013.
  • Co-planned and co-executed the Graphic Storytelling in India: A Symposium, which involved 25 speakers (including artistes, practitioners, academics and doctoral students) from across India, Germany and UK. The symposium was co-sponsored by AUD, co-hosted by Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Saket, New Delhi and was held from 22-24 November, 2018. Details can be found at
  • Presented the paper A Bridge on River Hugli: Visualities, Regimes, Practices at the International seminar Entering the city: Spaces, transports, perceptions, and representations from the 18th century to the present. Brussels, Belgium, 15 & 16 October, 2015. Conference hosted by MICM-ARC Research Project & Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. [Sponsored participant]
  • Presented the paper The Making of Calcutta as a Cinematic City at the Screen International Conference ‘Cosmopolitan Screens’, Glasgow, 28-30th June, 2013. Conference organised by OUP journal Screen and Glasgow University, Scotland.
  • Presented the paper Across the Violent Seas: Aparna Sen's Yugant and the Furtive Arrival of Globalisation in Bengali Cinema at the Global Studies Conference, Global Studies Journal & Ambedkar University Delhi, 5-7 September, 2013.
  • Presented the paper Reasons of the State: Communist Politics and Open Society in Bengal at the International Society for Intellectual History Seminar Use and Abuse of Reason, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, 27-31st July, 2004. [Sponsored participant]
  • Presented the paper Battala Literature and the History of its Production at the International Book History Seminar, Department of English, Jadavpur University, 2004.
  • Presented the paper Why Aren’t there no Women in Feluda at the International Seminar Children’s Literature at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, 11-13th December, 2003.
  • Presented the paper The Cultural Politics of Battala and the Re-interrogation of Postcolonial Peripheries at the Cultural Studies Workshop, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta & ENRECA Danida & SEPHIS, Shantiniketan,
  • 25–31 January, 2002.
  • Presented the paper The disparate signifiers of the Body in Coleridge’s Divine Comedy at the International Seminar Rethinking Romanticism, Department of English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, February 8-9, 2001.