About Me

Photograph of Amrita Dhar

 

PhD, University of Michigan, 2018

MPhil, University of Cambridge, 2009

MA, Jadavpur University, 2006

BA, Jadavpur University, 2004

 

I grew up in Calcutta, and studied at the universities of Jadavpur (India), Cambridge (UK), and Michigan (USA). I am currently Assistant Professor of English at The Ohio State University, where I teach courses on early modern literature, disability studies, and the environmental humanities. My research and teaching interests further include the digital humanities. I am also a climber and mountaineer, and work and write on world mountaineering literatures.

As a scholar of literature and a mountaineer, I am deeply invested in understanding embodiment, difference, and even as I use it, the tool that enables me to think about these and much else: language.

My writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Milton Studies, Shakespeare Bulletin, postmedieval, The Himalayan Journal, and various edited collections. This work has been supported over the years by the University of Michigan‘s Rackham Graduate School and Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) project Early Modern Conversions.

My first monograph–whose manuscript is nearing completion–is entitled Milton’s Blind Language and is a study of the workings of blindness towards the making of John Milton’s poetic language in his years of approaching and complete loss of sight. I examine Milton’s psalm translations in his years of going blind, his later sonnets, and his last great poetic works, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes.

Two other book-length projects are in the works. The first of these, Regarding Sight and Blindness in Early Modern English Literature, traces the attitudes towards sight and blindness in the literature of the early modern period, with special attention to heretofore unexamined texts. Primary sources for this study include canonical and marginal plays, remarkable and unremarkable poetry, broadside ballads, manuscript accounts of visual affliction and proposed remedies, printed and manuscript medicinal and culinary recipes, and religious and social tracts and sermons.

The second, A Social History of Indian Mountaineering, is an accessible account of Indian mountaineering, particularly Himalayan mountaineering, from its colonial “Golden Age” in the mid-twentieth century to the emerging models of the twenty-first. The social and historical investment of this work is in claiming space for mountaineers of the “non-traditional” kind—such as individuals at the intersections of less privileged genders, castes, social standing, financial reach, geography, age, and physical ability—who have historically enlarged the scope of the sport but are still the least credited for this work.

In autumn 2019, I spoke to The Alpinist Podcast on some of these questions concerning mountaineering histories and archives.

For rigorous and generous intellectual companionship, I remain grateful to my academic families at the Medievalists of Color and the Shakespeare and Race Collective. It means everything to belong in communities that use their scholarship for deep and wide engagement in the world.

As a teacher, I remain deeply invested in my students’ intellectual growth and general well-being.

Photography and food are my two other matters of interest; when not engaged in my intellectual and athletic pursuits, I am usually out with my camera, or cooking.

 

Here are the pages of the workshop I founded at the University of Michigan: The Mountaineering Culture Studies Group

 

To get in touch, write to me at dhar [dot] 24 [at] osu [dot] edu or tweet me [at] olidhar