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MemberShirin A. Khanmohamadi

I am an Associate Professor of premodern literature in the Comparative and World Literature department at San Francisco State University, where I’ve been teaching since 2005.  My location in a Comparative and World Literature department means that my teaching necessarily extends beyond my training as in European and Mediterranean studies to embrace the literatures of premodern Asia, Africa and the Americas.  My research and writing is likewise marked by comparative methods and interdisciplinarity: my first book, In Light of Another’s Word: European Ethnography in the Middle Ages (UPenn, 2014), considered postcolonial critical-anthropological critiques of colonial ethnographic description and the ethnographic gaze in order to bring into sharp relief the differences of premodern ethnographic representation, namely its dialogism, particularly where European description predated colonial control.  In showing a Latin Europe incorporative and integrative of the voices and perspectives of its (internal and external) others, I was also interested in the open-ended nature of European identity in its formative period. My current book project continues this interest while returning me to the complex ‘matter of Saracens,’ which first drew me to the study of the Middle Ages. Translating Saracens deploys translatio/n theory and material culture studies to read the movement of symbolic objects associated with Muslim imperial authority in chansons de geste and chronicles as evidence of European desire for ‘prestigious association’ with various Islamicate empires in the Middle Ages.  I thereby call for renewed attention, through the work of these critically neglected objects, to  ‘the Arabic role’ (Menocal 1987) in Europe’s cultural and imperial self-fashioning. I’m honored to have been elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the MLA Forum, CCLS: Medieval, for the term 2019-24.    

MemberUsree Bhattacharya

My research is inspired by questions of diversity, equity, and access in multilingual educational contexts, especially as they pertain to the circulation of English as a “global” language. It combines the analysis of educational policy and practice with methods from the fields of applied linguistics, second language acquisition, linguistic anthropology, and literacy studies. A primary aim of my work is to illuminate the role of discourses, ideologies, and everyday practices in the production and reproduction of hierarchical relations within educational systems. In terms of research projects, I have been conducting ethnographic research on the language and literacy socialization of young boys at an anathashram (orphanage) since 2007 in suburban New Delhi, India. A newer project examines safety and educational rights of adolescent underprivileged girls in suburban Mumbai, India.