S. Shankar is a novelist, critic and translator. His scholarly areas of interest are postcolonial literature (especially of Africa and South Asia), literature of immigration, film, and translation studies.
His most recent book is No End to the Journey, a novel published by Steerforth Press (2005). Set in a village in South India and drawing on the ancient East Indian epic the Ramayana, it tells the story of Gopalakrishnan and his difficult relationship to his son. In favorable reviews, Booklist compared it to Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day and the Indian Express noted that "it packs a punch." A Spanish translation of the novel is currently under preparation.
In 2001, Shankar published his first volume of criticism, entitled Textual Traffic: Colonialism, Modernity, and the Economy of the Text (SUNY Press). The book has been positively reviewed for its explication of the relationship between colonialism and modernity and its innovations of critical methodology.
A Map of Where I Live (1997), Shankar’s first novel, intertwines a story of love and political intrigue set in Madras with the memoir of an Indian historian who discovers that Lilliput (as in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels) really exists. Shashi Tharoor called the novel “highly original, compelling, and vivid,” and World Literature Today described it as “a minor masterpiece.”
Shankar is also co-editor of the anthology Crossing into America: The New Literature of Immigration (New Press, 2003), which brings together poems, excerpts from novels and memoirs, short stories, letters, and essays to present immigrant literature since 1965. This book, San Antonio Express News notes, is “a strong and diverse literary story of multicultural America… likely the most original and best introduction to the new immigration available today for its balanced, informative, moving, and comprehensive offerings.” The paperback edition of the anthology was published in 2005.
Shankar is the translator of two works from Tamil into English—the full-length Tamil play Water!, published in 2001 in India by Seagull Press and in the US by Asian Theatre Journal; and the famous Krishna devotional “Alaipaayuthey,” which appears in No End to the Journey as “Restless as the Waves of the Ocean.”
Shankar has published shorter pieces in a wide variety of scholarly and general interest periodicals in India and the US. His scholarly articles, poems, reviews, and literary essays have appeared in such academic journals and popular venues as PMLA, Tin House, Massachusetts Review, Outlook, The Hindu, Pioneer, Village Voice, and The Nation. “Midnight’s Orphans, or A Postcolonialism Worth Its Name,” a scholarly article appearing in Cultural Critique 56 (Winter 2004), has been widely read and cited.
Aside from being Professor in the Department of English, Shankar is also Director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Areas of Interest
postcolonial theory and literature, creative writing, literary theory and
cultural studies, translation and translation studies
MA, Madras University
PhD, University of Texas-Austin
Fall Semester 2013
Literature & Empire
Literature & Empire
Sem in Comparative Lit: Intro to Postcolonial Theory (LSE/CSAP)
Spring Semester 2013
Intro to Lit: Literary History (After Empire)
Fall Semester 2012
Studies in Postcolonial Lit (The Postcolonial Novel)
Senior Honors Tutorial (Bollywood to Nollywood)
Spring Semester 2012
Lit & Postcolonialism
Fall Semester 2011
Lit in English after 1900
Cultural Studies: Translation & Cmprtivsm (LSE, CSAP)