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swarnalathaSwarnalatha R

Room No.: HSB 332C
Phone : +91 (44) 2257 4519
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  • Associate Professor- Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras from June 2010 till present
  • Assistant Professor- Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras from December 2005 till June 2010
  • Lecturer - Languages Group, BITS Pilani from March 2004 to December 2005.
  • Lecturer in English in D.G.Vaishnav College from July 2001 March 2004.
Academic Background:
  • Ph.D (English) from University of Madras, 2002
  • M.Phil (English) from University of Madras, 1993
  • M.A. (English) from University of Madras, 1992
  • Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University, 1999-2000
Research Interests:
  • Ecocriticism
  • American Literature
  • Literature and Life, Literature and Values, Literature and the Environment, Advanced English, English for Communication, Chaucer, Milton and the Bible, Shakespeare
Research Guidance (Ph.D):
  1. Vidya Sarveswaran – Completed in 2011. Research Area: Ecocriticism. Title: The Integrated Mosaic: An Ecocritical Study of the writings of Terry Tempest Williams
  2. Anu Asokan—Ongoing. Research Area: Ecocriticism. Tentative title: Environmentalism of the poor: An ecocritical analysis of the works of Mahasweta Devi
Awards Won:
  • Fulbright Pre-doctoral Fellowship to Harvard University (2000)
  • University Grants Commission (Senior Research Fellowship (1995-2000)
  • Winner of the 2000 Thomas Wolfe International Student Essay Prize.
  • IUC fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla ( 2011-2013)
  • Charles Wallace Fellowship to Cambridge University 2013
Academic Activities:
  • Founding Editor of The Indian Journal of Ecocriticism (A Peer-reviewed International Journal of OSLE- India)
  • Guest Editor of the International Environmental journal from Canada, The Trumpeter (published by the Athabasca University Press) for two special issues with a focus on Indian ecosophy.(Number 1 (2009) and one forthcoming issue)
Creative Writing
  1. Short story titled, "Through the Eye of the Needle" in the collection titled, 21 under 40: New Stories for a New Generation, Edited by Anita Roy, Zubaan Books, 2007.
  2. Short fiction titled "The Flowing Mirror" in the South Asian Review ( Peer-reviewed journal from the University of Pittsburgh) Vol. 28, No.3, 2007.
  3. Short fiction titled "Hiranmayi" to be published in Penguin First Proof (2009)
  4. Short fiction titled "Speaking in Many Tongues." published in The collection Chicken Soup for the Indian Spiritual Soul, Westland, 2009.
  5. Short fiction titled " Sita's Hypothesis" published in the on July 15, 2011
  6. Short fiction titled " Koan" finalist in the Katha Prize Contest published in India Currents, February 2012.
  7. Final Instructions. Novel. Unpublished.
Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals:
  1. Atma Vidya'-Ben's Upanishadic Gospel of the Self in Look Homeward, Angel". The Thomas Wolfe Review, Vol.24.1. Spring 2000: 16-19
  2. "Wolfe and the Nature of Maya". The Thomas Wolfe Review, Vol 24.2. Fall 2000: 52-53.
  3. "Through Imagination's Third Eye: The Creative Seer in Thomas Wolfe's Passage to England". The Thomas Wolfe Review, Vol 25, Nos.1&2, 2001: 3-11.
  4. "To Start at Ground Level: Hubris and Redemption in J M Coetzee's Disgrace." The Icfai Journal of English Studies, Vol 1. No 4, 2006: 87-93.
  5. "The Community and its poetry are not two": A Buddhist Reading of Gary Snyder's Ecopoetics" Atlantic Critical Review, Volume 7 Number 4 October 2008.
  6. "Abandoning to Integrate: Integral Consciousness in Pico Iyer's Abandon." JSL(The Journal of the School of Language, Literature Culture Studies) November 2009.
  7. "Identity as Process: Tibetan Diasporic Consciousness in Tsering Namgyal's Little Lhasa." Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies Vol. 5 February 2009.
  8. "Madhu-Vidya: The Holocoenotic Vision of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad." The Trumpeter Volume 24, Number 2 (2008).
  9. "Ecofeminist Retellings of the Ramayana." In The Bulletin Quarterly of the Chennai Academy for Science, Humanities and Religion. Vol 2. No.3, November 2009.
  10. "The Mandalic Consciousness: Sri Chakra as Psychocosmogram" The Trumpeter Volume 25, Number 1 (2009).
  11. "Forest discourses by women: Earth-centric retellings of the Ramayana." (to be published in the forthcoming issue of Jeevadhara, The International Theological Review.)
  12. "Gestalt ontology as planetary culture in Terry Tempest William's Finding Beauty in a Broken World." (co-authored with Vidya Sarveswaran in JUES (Jadavpur University Essays and Studies) Vol.23, 2009.
  13. " A Perspective of Engagement: An Ecological Reconnaisance into the Garden of Earthly in Terry Tempest Williams' Leap." (co-authored with Vidya Sarveswaran in JSL, Spring 2009.
  14. "The Open Space of Democracy- Partnership Ethics in Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge."(co-authored with Vidya Sarveswaran in Scholastic International Research Journal of Language and Literature, Spring 2009.)
  15. "Ground Truthing – A Study of Ecological Scapes in Terry Tempest Williams's in An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field (co-authored with Vidya Sarveswaran forthcoming in Literary Insight : A Journal of Literature.
  16. "A text for Nothingness: The Beckettian Predicament in Krishna Baldev Vaid's Dying Alone" forthcoming in Literary Insight : A Journal of Literature.
  17. "Writing the Subaltern into Being: Tribals and Nature in Mahasweta Devi's Pterodactyl (Co-authored with Anu Asokan in Contemporary Research in India, Vol.1, June 2011): 4-10.
  18. "Writing an Era of Tribal Repression: Mahasweta Devi's Chotti Munda and his Arrow" (Co-authored with Anu Asokan in Thematics Journal of Indian Literature, Vol.1. Issue 4. December 2011): 32-37.
  19. "In Andal's Garden: The Ecological Implications of Earth-based Religiosity." in the Special Ecocriticism Issue of The Ravenshaw Journal of Literary and Cultural Studies. Issue Editor: Scott Slovic (January 2014) Invited Essay.
  20. "Ecocriticism of the Global South: Environmental Justice Perspectives from India." In the Special Ecocriticism Issue of Critical Imprints- the peer-reviewed journal of the English Department of Loreto College, Kolkata. (January 2014). Invited Essay.
Book Chapters:
  1. "Writing as Mukti: The Story of Draupadi, the Subaltern who Speaks." Book Chapter in Voices of the Voiceless: Perspectives on Subaltern Literatures. Ed. Francis Peter Chennai: ACE-Loyola, 2003. 87-94.
  2. "Ambiguous Divinity in Manil Suri's The Death of Vishnu." Book Chapter in Indian Writings in English. Edited by Binod Mishra and Sanjay Kumar. Published by Atlantic Books, 2006. Delhi: Atlantic, 2006. 177-197.
  3. "Nature as Third Space: A Study of Perumal Murugan's Seasons of the Palm." Book Chapter in Literature, Ecology and Meaning. New Delhi: BR Publishers, 2008.
  4. "Becoming the "Transparent Eye-Ball": Ecodharma in American Transcendentalist Writing." Book Chapter in Essays in Ecocriticism. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 2007. 114-125.
  5. "Engaging with Prakriti: A Survey of Ecocritical Praxis in India." Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism. Ed.Greg Garrard. OUP. (Forthcoming 2014) Invited Essay.
  6. "Sacramental Commons and Female Agency: Oiko-Xicanisma in Ana Castillo's So Far From God." Book Chapter in Environmental Crisis and Human Costs. Eds. Ufuk Ozdag and Francois Gavillon. CLYMA Series, Benjamin Franklin American Studies Research Institute. (Forthcoming 2014)
  7. "Women writing Nature in the Global South: Perspectives from India." Book Chapter in Handbook of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology. Ed. Hubert Zapf. Pub. Walter De Gruyter. (Scheduled for publication in 2015). Invited Essay.
  1. A Perpetual Becoming: The Quest Motif in the Novels of Thomas Wolfe. Published by Sarup and Sons ( Forthcoming)
  2. Edited and Compiled a book titled The Philosophy of Education: A collection of the writings of the educationist, Prof.Srinivasa Sarma. Published by TR Publications, 2009.
  3. Ecoambiguity, Community and Development: Toward a Politicized Ecocriticism. Book project in collaboration with Prof. Scott Slovic, University of Nevada and Dr.Vidya Sarveswaran, IIT Rajasthan. Publisher: Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield. (Scheduled for publication in 2014)
  4. Ecocriticism of the Global South. Book project in collaboration with Prof. Scott Slovic, University of Nevada and Dr.Vidya Sarveswaran, IIT Rajasthan. Publisher: Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield. (Scheduled for publication in 2014/2015)
Other Publications: Reviews and Interviews
  1. Review of Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective by Marti Kheel. Published in ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies In Literature and Environment, University of Nevada) Vol.16 Issue 4 Autumn 2009.
  2. "Ecological Dimensions of the Ramayana: A Conversation with Paula Richman." Published in The Trumpeter , 25:1, 2009.
  3. "Towards an Earth Sangha: A Conversation with John Seed." To be published in The Indian Journal of Ecocriticism 2010.
Professional Memberships
  • Member, Editorial Board, ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, an Oxford University Press journal)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Scholastic International Research Journal of Language and Literature.