Adhira Mangalagiri - "States of Disconnect" - Christopher Bush

Thursday, May 11, 2023 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Adhira Mangalagiri

Adhira Mangalagiri will discuss States of Disconnect: The China-India Literary Relation in the Twentieth Century.  She will be joined in conversation by Christopher Bush.

Presented in partnership with the UChicago Center for East Asian Studies.

This event will be held in person at The Seminary Co-op. At this time, masks are required for in-store events.


About the book: In an interconnected world, literature moves through transnational networks, crosses borders, and bridges diverse cultures. Today, as hopes for globalization wane and exclusionary nationalism is on the march, can literature still offer new ways of relating with others? States of Disconnect examines the breakdown of transnationalism through readings of literary texts that express aversion to pairing ideas of China and India. Focusing on practices of comparison, Adhira Mangalagiri considers how these texts articulate the undesirability or impossibility of relating with national others, tracing portrayals of violence, silence, and distance. She proposes the concept of “disconnect”: a crisis of transnationalism perceptible in moments when a connection is severed, interrupted, or disavowed. Despite their apparent insularity, texts of disconnect offer possibilities for relating ethically across national borders while resisting both narrow nationalisms and globalized habits of thought. Reading a variety of largely untranslated twentieth-century Chinese and Hindi short stories, novels, and poems, Mangalagiri develops three new strategies for comparison—friction, ellipses, and contingency—that together comprise a critical vocabulary of disconnect. Foregrounding transnationalism’s discontents, States of Disconnect offers a different path by which literary texts can cultivate a critical sensibility for making sense of a world rife with division.

About the author: Adhira Mangalagiri is a Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. Her book, States of Disconnect: The China-India Literary Relation in the Twentieth Century, explores possibilities for transnational literary relation beyond the hyper-connective paradigms of globalization and against the insularity of exclusionary nationalisms. Her work dwells in the Chinese and Hindi/Urdu literary spheres, and is concerned with the ethics of comparison, the value of literary practice and inquiry, and the fate of transnationalism in politically-circumscribed contexts. Her research has recently appeared in Comparative Literature Studies, the Journal of World Literature, the International Journal of Asian Studies, and Economic & Political Weekly, among others. She has held fellowships at Harvard University and New York University Shanghai, and is currently an Editor of Comparative Critical Studies.

About the interlocutor: Christopher Bush is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University and codirects the Global Avant-garde and Modernist Studies graduate cluster. His research and teaching focus on transnational and interdisciplinary approaches to literary modernisms, especially the connections between European and East Asian avant-gardes, aesthetic theory, and media. He is currently completing a book, for Columbia University Press, on the modernist haiku as world literature, and has recently published articles in Esprit créateur, T. S. Eliot Studies Annual, and the Surrealism Beyond Borders exhibition catalog.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-Op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637