Skip to main content

Lisa Jardine Annual English Lecture 2020: Professor Ankhi Mukherjee

When: Thursday, October 22, 2020, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Where: Online Event


Open, Closed, Interrupted City

In this year's Lisa Jardine lecture, I propose interruption as a chronotope, taking as my materials the novels of the Nigerian American writer Teju Cole. I examine different pathologies of interruption here: that of unfinished, untold stories; truncated lives; the metaphysics of a non-tactilist touch; the clinical interruptions that structure immigrant psychoanalysis. I dwell on two novels which have mental health professionals (psychiatrists-in-training) as their migrant protagonists. In Every Day is for the Thief (2007), set in corrupt, neo-liberal Nigeria, and Open City (2011), set in post-9/11, multiracial New York, the narrators’ autopoeisis takes the form of forensically examining the unlived-out, erased, or buried lives of the city, including the bodies of slaves unmourned in both sides of the Atlantic. I read the dreamscapes and travelogues of these doppelgänger works to inhabit the stratified spaces of a world city - and its permissive mental.

About Ankhi Mukherjee

Ankhi Mukherjee is Professor of English and World Literatures at the University of Oxford. She is the author of two monographs, Aesthetic Hysteria: The Great Neurosis in Victorian Melodrama and Contemporary Fiction (Routledge, 2007) and What Is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewriting and Invention of the Canon (Stanford, 2014), which won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Prize in 2015. Mukherjee has co-edited A Concise Companion to Psychonalysis, Literature, and Culture (2014) and edited After Lacan (2018). She has published articles in three key areas of research and teaching specialism: Victorian literature and culture, postcolonial studies, and intellectual history, in particular the history and theory of psychoanalysis. These have appeared in PMLA, MLQ, Contemporary Literature, Textual Practice, Paragraph, and other peer-reviewed journals. Mukherjee was John Hinkley Visiting Professor at the Department of English at Johns Hopkins University in 2019. Her current work, Unseen City: The Psychic Life of Poverty in Mumbai, London, and New York, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. She is already dreaming about the next book, on nineteenth-century dream thought, theory, and writing in literatures in English.

 Book here

Back to top