S. Shankar


S. Shankar

Office hours:
T 10-12


S. Shankar is a critic, novelist,  and translator. His scholarly areas of interest are postcolonial literature (especially of Africa and South Asia), literature of immigration, film, creative writing and translation studies. He is Professor of English and Chair of the English Department.


His most recent books are the novel Ghost in the Tamarind (U of Hawaii Press 2017) and the co-edited anthology Caste and Life Narratives (special issue of Biography 2017 and Primus Books India 2019). An Italian translation of Ghost in the Tamarind was published in 2021.


His last book-length work of criticism is Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular(U. of California P.; OrientBlackswan India), published in 2012.


Two other novels are No End to the Journey, published by Steerforth Press in 2005, and A Map of Where I Live, published in 1998. A Spanish translation of No End to the Journey appeared in 2009.


In 2001, Shankar published his first volume of criticism, entitled Textual Traffic: Colonialism, Modernity, and the Economy of the Text (SUNY Press). The book has been positively reviewed for its explication of the relationship between colonialism and modernity and its innovations of critical methodology.


Shankar is co-editor with Louis Mendoza of the anthology Crossing into America: The New Literature of Immigration (New Press, 2003), which brings together poems, excerpts from novels and memoirs, short stories, letters, and essays to present immigrant literature since 1965.


Shankar is a translator from Tamil, including of the full-length Tamil play Water! by Komal Swaminathan, published in 2001 in India by Seagull Press and in the US by Asian Theatre Journal, and of the famous 18th-century Krishna devotional “Alaipaayuthey,” which appears in No End to the Journey as “Restless as the Waves of the Ocean.”


Shankar has published shorter pieces in a wide variety of scholarly and general interest periodicals in India and the US. His scholarly articles, poems, reviews, and literary essays have appeared in such academic journals and popular venues as PMLA, Tin House, Massachusetts Review,  Comparative Literature, Critical Inquiry, Outlook, The Hindu, Pioneer, Village Voice, and The Nation.  The scholarly article "The Ruse of Freedom: A Comparative Essay on Ahimsa and Freedom of Expression” is forthcoming in Cultural Critique; and the short story "Chennai Block South: Intrusion of Untouchables" was published in ISLE in 2020.


Aside from being Professor in the Department of English, Shankar was Director of the Center for South Asian Studies and Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He was appointed Convener of XVIth Annual Convention of the Forum on Contemporary Theory (India) in 2013. He has been Scholar-in-Residence at University of Houston-Downtown, SOAS Unversity (London) and EFL University (Hyderabad). He is on the Board of External Experts for the Committee for the Nobel Prize for Literature of the Swedish Academy.


Areas of Interest

Postcolonial theory and literature, creative writing, critical caste studies, cultural journalism, literary theory and cultural studies, translation and translation studies, US literature of immigration


Senior Fulbright-Nehru Award, 2017-2018.

IPPY Award for Ghost in the Tamarind (2017).

Senior Excellence in Research Award, College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature, 2017.

Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature, 2008.

Honorable Mention, Rene Wellek Prize Committee of the ACLA, 2013 for Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular



MA, Madras University PhD, University of Texas-Austin


Fall Semester 2024
  • ENG-320: Intro to English Studies
  • ENG-463: Studies: Film: Postcolonial Narrative Cinema

Spring Semester 2024
  • ENG-613D: Nonfiction Workshop: Cultural Journalism

Fall Semester 2023
  • ENG-326: Literatures of the World
  • ENG-440: Single Author: Ngugi wa Thiongo

Spring Semester 2023
  • ENG-320: Introduction to English Studies