Dr Gunaratne, Anjuli Ishani
Anjuli Gunaratne grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka and received her Ph.D. in English and the Interdisciplinary Humanities at Princeton University. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Hong Kong’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities (2018-2020) and at Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, where she was the Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2018). Her work has appeared in PMLA (Publication of the Modern Language Association) and the CLR James Journal, and is forthcoming in Research in African Literatures.
Interested in the literatures of the former British and French colonies, Anjuli is at work on a book tentatively titled Miraculous Corpse: Tragedy and Postcoloniality, which studies the emergence of tragedy as a dramatic, narrative, and philosophical form in postcolonial literature, with a special focus on Caribbean novelists and poets. Her second book project, Flowering Ossuary: Garden Form and Postcolonial Literature, will be a study of anglophone and francophone Caribbean writers who experiment with literary form in order to build imaginative memorials for the dead within their novels and poems. As a whole, Anjuli’s research engages issues pertaining to the relationship between literary and architectural form, the narration of trauma, and the process of recovering and representing the past in literary works, particularly when the past is unwritten or purposefully disappeared.
Anjuli Gunaratne grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka and received her Ph.D. in English and the Interdisciplinary Humanities at Princeton University. In 2017-2018, she was the Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. Her work has appeared in PMLA (Publication of the Modern Language Association) and is forthcoming in the CLR James Journal and Research in African Literatures.
Interested broadly in the literatures of the former British and French colonies, Anjuli will use her time at the Society of Follows to complete her book, Forensic Diaspora: Tragedy, Melancholy, and the Poetics of Postcolonial Justice, which broadly studies the emergence of tragedy as a dramatic, narrative, and philosophical form in postcolonial and African diaspora literature. Reading the works of James Baldwin, Aimé Césaire, Assia Djebar, C. L. R. James, Michael Ondaatje, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, and Sylvia Wynter, Forensic Diaspora unearths a modern tragedy that these writers innovatively create by subjecting the limits of legal and scientific theories of closure and justice to both melancholic and playful literary forensic investigations.
Revealing Western tragedy as the forensic process the genre implicitly entailed, these writers of an emergent cultural diaspora, conduct unofficial investigations into disappeared figures and forms of anticolonial and antiracist resistance. Investigating, excavating, and surveying scenes of cultural loss, these postcolonial tragedies mimic, Anjuli argues, the gestures of forensic archeology, but with a critical difference: they displace the latter’s prioritization of gathering verifiable evidence by seeking instead to establish counter-historical relationships with human ruins and remains.
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