Krupa Shandilya is Associate Professor of Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College. Her monograph Intimate Relations: Social Reform and the Late Nineteenth Century South Asian Novel (FlashPoints, Northwestern University Press, 2017) is a comparative analysis of Bengali and Urdu literature at the turn of the century. The book argues that both literary traditions resolve the “woman’s question,” the reform of marginal female subjects such as widows and courtesans, through surprisingly similar notions of reform and literary narrative techniques.

Her current book project, Urdu Poetry and Politics in Contemporary India, argues that the recitation of revolutionary Urdu poetry in recent progressive Bombay cinema (2014-2020) and public protests (2019-2020) creates a feminist corporeal citizenship of belonging for Muslims and other religious, caste, class, and sexual minorities anchored in the imaginative terrain of poetry, challenging their legal and political marginalization by Hindu right-wing forces. The Urdu poetry that animates this book comes from two anticolonial Marxist, socialist groups, namely, the Progressive Writers’ Association, or PWA (1935-1949), and the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and its successor the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, or HSRA (1924-1936). 

In addition to these scholarly monographs, she has also worked on translations of Urdu literature and poetry. She has published a translation of M.H. Ruswa's Urdu novella The Madness of Waiting (Zubaan/University of Chicago Press, 2013; with Taimoor Shahid) and has co-translated the poetry of the Urdu modernist poet Miraji.

Her research and teaching interests include Urdu, Bengali, Hindi and South Asian Anglophone literature and poetry, postcolonial literature and theory, feminist theory, and South Asian cinema. Her articles have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, New Cinemas and Gender and History.


Ph.D., English, Cornell University, 2009
B.A., University of Rochester, 2004, English (major), Latin (minor), Women’s Studies (minor).
B.A., University of Mumbai (St. Xavier’s College), 2002, English.


Intimate Relations: Social Reform and the Late-Nineteenth Century South Asian Novel. 2017, FlashPoints series, Northwestern University Press. A monograph that remaps the discussion on gender and the nation in South Asia through a close study of the Bengali and Urdu domestic novel as a literary genre and a tool for social reform in late-nineteenth century South Asia. [Amazon] [Northwestern University Press] [free open access pdf]

Urdu Poetry and Politics in Contemporary India  (under contract).

Peer-Reviewed Articles

 “The Many Bismils of Today: Ram Prasad ‘Bismil,’ ‘Bismil’ Azimabadi and Recovering the Legacy of a Muslim Intellectual.” South Asia (forthcoming)

“A Patchwork of Desire: Queering/Gendering Translations of Ismat Chughtai’s ‘The Quilt.’” Bahri, Deepika, and Filippo Menozzi, eds. Teaching Anglophone South Asian Women Writers. MLA: Options for Teaching (2021) 

“The Poetics of Revolution: Hindu Right–Wing Politics and the Kashmir Question in Haider.” Literature/Film Quarterly 47.2 (2019). [Link]

“The Gaze of the Raping Muslim Man: Love Jihad and Hindu Right–Wing Rhetoric in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat.” Studies in South Asian Film and Media 9.2 (2019): 97–112. [Link]

“(In)visibilities: Homosexuality and Muslim Identity in India after Section 377.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42.2 (2017). [Link]

"The Widow, the Wife and the Courtesan: A Comparative Study of Social Reform in Premchand’s Sevasadan and the Late-Nineteenth Century Bengali and Urdu Novel." Comparative Literature Studies (special issue: Beyond the Anglophone: Comparative South Asian Literary Studies) 53.2 (2016). [Link]

“Nirbhaya’s Body: The Politics of Protest in the Aftermath of the Delhi Gang Rape.” Gender and History, Volume 27, Issue 2 (2015). [Link]

“The Long Smouldering Night: Sex and Songs in the Desi Feminist Noir.” New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film, 12.1-2 (2015). [Link]

"Writing/Reading the Subaltern Woman: Narrative Voice and Subaltern Agency in Upamanyu Chatterjee's English, August." Postcolonial Text, Vol. 9, no.3 (2014). [Link]

“Of Enraged Shirts, Gyrating Gangsters, and Farting Bullets: Salman Khan and the New Bollywood Action Film.” South Asian Popular Culture (July 2014) [Link]

“The Sacred and the Secular: Spirituality, Aesthetics and Politics in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim and Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games.” Modern Fiction Studies, 60.3 (Summer 2014). [Link]


The Madness of Waiting (by M.H. Ruswa; co-translator, with Taimoor Shahid), 2013. [University of Chicago Press] [Amazon]

Translations of Miraji's poems (jointly with Zara Khadeeja Majoka, Noor Habib, and Adeeba Talukder) published in the Paris Review, the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, and Waxwing.

Other Publications:

"Writing Across Borders." Los Angeles Review of Books, 2019. [Link]

Book Review of Bombay Modern: Arun Kolatkar and Bilingual Literary Culture by Anjali Nerlekar. South Asian Review. 38.1 (2017): 134–136. [Link]

Book Review of Forget English!: Orientalisms and World Literature by Aamir Mufti. Novel 50.2 (2017): 288–290. [Link]

Book Review of Outside the Lettered City: Cinema, Modernity, and the Public Sphere in Late Colonial India by Manishita Dass. South Asia 40–2.2 (2017): 416–418. [Link]

“Gender Politics and Small Town India: The Cinema of Abhishek Chaubey.” Behind The Scenes (ed. Aysha Iqbal and Vimal Mohan John). Sage Publications, India (2017). [Link]

“The fearless fight for women's freedom” (co-authored with Amrita Basu). January 10. 2013. [Al Jazeera Online]

Book Review of “Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism” by Srirupa Roy. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 10.2 (2008) [Link]