Shameem Black

Shameem joined the Australian National University from the United States, where she received a PhD from Stanford University and served as an Assistant Professor of postcolonial literature in the English Department at Yale University. She is now based in Gender, Media and Cultural Studies in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, where she serves as the Deputy Director for the South Asia Research Institute. Shameem’s work focuses on globalization, culture, and ethics in contemporary fiction in English, with particular attention to South Asia, Asian diasporas, and the cultural work of English in Asia. In all of her research, she is concerned to understand the significance of cosmopolitan encounters in our contemporary world.

Shameem’s book, Fiction Across Borders: Imagining the Lives of Others in Late Twentieth-Century Novels (Columbia University Press, 2010), shows how novels from different parts of the world try to represent socially diverse people and places without stereotyping, idealizing, or exoticizing them. This book challenges core models of reading that dominate postcolonial studies, and suggests how scholars, in partnership with fiction writers, might begin to articulate new approaches to the problem of representing those considered “others.”

Her current project, Flexible India, explores the cultural politics of a popular life practice: yoga. As rising Asian nations like India aspire to secure status in a changing global order, their cultures become contested projections of national identity and vexed symbols of national power. Looking at representations of yoga in popular fiction, visual culture, and new media, Shameem’s research examines contemporary Indian attempts to harness yoga for soft power. This work not only illuminates changing ideas of the Indian nation in an international context, but also suggests how the humanities can contribute to a broader understanding of the rise of Asia.

Recent publications:

·  Black, S 2016, ‘Flexible Indian Labor: Yoga, Information Technology Migration, and U.S. Technoculture’, Race and Yoga, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 23-41.

·  Black, S 2015, ‘Duty-Free in the DMZ? Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, the Heyri Art Valley, and Peace Tourism’, Social Text, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 57-81.

·  Black, S 2015, ‘Post-Humanitarianism and the Indian Novel in English’, in U Anjaria (ed.), A History of the Indian Novel in English, Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 296-309.

·  Black, S 2015, ‘The difficult position of yoga fiction,’ The Conversation, 4 September 2015

·  Black, S 2015, ‘Yoga for Cultural Health: Another Reason Why it’s Not Just Physical’. elephant journal 9 July 2015