Dr. Himani Bannerji

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Dr. Himani Bannerji



Himani Bannerji was born in Bangladesh in 1942 when it was still part of India. She earned a B.A. from Visva Bharati University and a M.A. in 1965 from Jadavpur University, Calcutta. In the same year she was hired as a lecturer in the university's Department of English. In 1969, she came to Canada and completed a M.A. in English at the University of Toronto. She began her teaching career in Canada as a part-time instructor at Atkinson College (York University). She completed her Ph.D. in 1988 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. [1]

Dr. Bannerji is perhaps best known for her non-fiction writing in areas such as feminism, racism and multiculturalism. She is a Professor in The Department of Sociology at York University. Her research and writing life extends between Canada and India. Her interests encompass anti-racist feminism, Marxism, critical cultural theories and historical sociology. She has done extensive research and writing on patriarchy and class formation in colonial India as well as in different strands of nationalism, cultural identity and politics in India.

Her Ph.D. research on class formation and left cultural politics, particularly on Indian Peoples Theatre Association (IPTA) resulted in a book, The Mirror of Class: Essays on Bengali Theatre (Papyrus Publishers, Kolkata 1998). She then continued research on the growing role played by middle class women in shaping the class consciousness and identity formations of the Bengali middle classes. This resulted in a book of essays, Inventing Subjects: Studies in Hegemony, Patriarchy and Colonialism (Tulika, India/Anthem, London 2001). Her further research on the connection between religion, politics and patriarchy and violence against women resulted in the book Demography and Democracy: Essays on Nationalism, Gender and Ideology (Orient Blackswan, India/ Canadian Scholars Press, Toronto 2011).

She also co-edited and contributed with S. Mojab and J. Whitehead a volume of essays titled Of Property and Propriety: The Role of Gender and Class in Imperialism and Nationalism (University of Toronto Press, 2001). Other than these writings on South Asia in particular, Dr. Bannerji has written on Canada from an anti-racist feminist and Marxist perspective books such as The Writing on the Wall: Essays on Culture and Politics (TSAR, Toronto 1993), Thinking Through: Essays of Feminism, Marxism and Anti-racism (Women’s Press, Toronto 1995), [2] The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Racism (Canadian Scholars Press, Toronto 2000), and edited and contributed to one of the earliest volumes on antiracist feminism, Returning Gaze: Essays on Gender, Race and Class by Non-white Women (Sister Vision Press, Toronto 1993). Her current research interest is on the social thought of Rabindranath Tagore, a volume forthcoming in 2013.

Other than writing and research, Dr. Bannerji is one of the founders and life fellow of the School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata and an honourary visiting professor and general council member of International Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK). She has been the recipient of a senior fellowship grant for research on Rabindranath Tagore from Rabindra Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.

She has taught in Delhi University, Department of Sociology, Jadavpur University, School of Women’s Studies and Department of Comparative Literature, and Calcutta University, School of Women’s Studies, on a regular basis. Dr. Bannerji has been awarded the Tagore Memorial Prize (Rabindra Smriti Puraskar) from the Government of West Bengal’s literary academy for her work on social and cultural history of Bengal.

Bannerji has presented as a keynote and plenary speaker on numerous occasions, including as the keynote for the all-India body of Rammohan Roy Library Foundations. She has taught the core course on South Asia in York’s South Asia Studies Programme for a number of years, and continues to introduce both undergraduate and graduate students to South Asian colonial and post-colonial writings. Her graduate courses, Theorizing Modernity and Social and Moral Regulations, also concentrate on the question of different modernities in post-colonial societies.

Her poems have been published in CVII, DEscant, Landscape, Rikka, Asianadian, Toronto South Asian Review, Fireweed, Borderlines, Canadian Woman Studies, Frank, Setu, and Indian Literature.


Rebuilding the left. [3]

The Other Family. [4]

Building from Marx: Reflections on “race”, gender and class. [5]