Based in Reykjavik, Iceland, I teach at the English Department and the Department of General Literature at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, as well as at the United Nations University’s Gender Equality, Studies, and Training centre.
I was Associate Professor in the Dept of English, St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, India, for almost three decades. My undergraduate (First Class) and graduate (Gold Medalist, First Class, First) degrees are also from St Stephen’s, and my M.Phil is from the Arts Faculty, Univ of Delhi. My Doctoral work was done from the Dept of Literatures in English, Rutgers, NJ, on Women’s Narratives of Violence and Collective Identities.
I have also been associated with the Indira Gandhi National Open University, India, writing both undergraduate and graduate courses on literature (Shakespeare) and Gender Studies (Women and Violence), among others.
Narrating Violence, Constructing Collective Identities: To witness these wrongs unspeakable
(Macmillan UK/USA: 2009)
A study of distinct forms of mass violence, the narratives each kind demands, and the collective identities constructed from and upon these, this book focuses on Slavery in the South of America, the Second World War invasion of Nanking, State sponsored torture during the Pinochet regime in Chile, the First World War, Feudalism in China, and the Partition of India. These events are read through popular and influential novels such as Toni Morrison’s Beloved , Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits, Toni Morrison’s Sula, and Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior.
This study has been cited in several scholarly works.
Humanities Conference, University of Iceland: March, 2017
“Death and Dismemberment: Why Images Matter”
Events of violence surround us in the media almost everywhere. Through text, image, and audio-visual reportage, news of death, dismemberment, disfigurement, wounding, crippling, and all the other infinite ways in which the body can be violently attacked, is brought to our attention almost every day. In many ways, we feel that the world is changing through and because of this violence, and also because of our constant awareness of it. How do we cope with this kind of change?
This presentation is essentially a compilation of various kinds of images of violence that often get little attention beyond the initial response of horror or revulsion. My belief is that if we are able to decode the manner of, and rationale behind, the production of these images, we will be better able to decipher and comprehend them. In so doing, we will come to a more intelligent understanding of the ways in which violence works, and, thereby, be more able to resist the forces that drive it.
While the presentation aims at being a practical demonstration of deciphering images of violence, I will embed this understanding within a theoretical framework that will allow these examples to extend to a more general comprehension of the issues at work in their production and consumption.
Afkóðun dauða og limlestingar: Mikilvægi ímynda
UNU-GEST Lecture Series on 4 February – Twice Abused Bodies and the Question of Agency
The UNU-GEST Spring 2016 Lecture Series continues and on 4 February at 12:00 at the University of Iceland main building (room 52), Dr. Giti Chandra will give her talk titled Twice Abused Bodies and the Question of Agency. Dr. Giti Chandra is Associate Professor at the Dept of English, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi in India and part-time lecturer at UNU-GEST.In her lecture, Dr. Chandra will discuss the ways in which women’s bodies are inscribed in cultures across the globe, which make certain kinds of violence against those bodies imaginable and possible. It interrogates several literary texts which use the ‘violenced’ body in symbolic ways to figure forth situations of conflict and their possible futures. It argues that these texts reinscribe the woman’s body in the service of fiction, in a literary attempt to ascribe agency where none seems possible. The paper then looks at theories of pain, articulation, violence, and collective identities, in order to formulate an understanding of how this happens in spite of the overarching political views of the author, and confronts the nature of agency constructed through these means.
The lecture is given in English and admission is free. Moderator is Professor Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir. The event on Facebook.
The UNU-GEST Spring 2016 Lecture Series is held in collaboration with RIKK – Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference at the University of Iceland and the National Museum of Iceland.
Dr. Chandra has taught in and been a fellow at Rutgers University, New Jersey, from where she received her Ph.D on women and violence. She served as Chairperson of the College Complaints Committee Against Sexual Harassment in St Stephen’s College, and as Adviser to the Gender Sensitization Committee, and is a member of the Gender Forum of Delhi University. She is currently the External Expert on the Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. She is the author of “Narrating Violence, Constructing Collective Identities: To witness these wrongs unspeakable” (Macmillan UK/US. 2009). Dr Chandra is also the author of “Book of Guardians Trilogy”, of which the first two books are “The Fang of Summoning” (Hatchette. 2010), and The Bones of Stars (Hachette. 2013).
Violence and Identity: Citizenship Course at St Stephen’s College, 2015
“A Note in Time: Music as Social Text” at the South Campus. The conference was organised in collaboration with the UGC and Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Giti Chandra delivered an interesting discourse on music and war. According to her, the violence of armed conflict brings with it the compulsive need for articulation. She said that music uses various strategies in order to articulate these silences. Her presentation used a randomly chosen cross-section of genres and artists from Pink Floyd and the Beatles, Metallica and Sting to Bob Marley and Olivier Messiaen to explore representations of war in American and European music after the Second World War. Giti Chandra is associate professor at the department of English, St Stephen’s College. She has been a violinist with the Delhi Symphony Orchestra for many years, has been Soprano and Conductor for the college choir.
Institute of Ideas, Question Hour
Founding the Convening the Annual St Stephen’s ConFest was such a marvelous experience – Here is some of the coverage we got:
ConFest 2013: Romantically Inclined