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Geeta Patel


Office Address:139 New Cabell Hall
Office Hours: Fall 2022 :Friday 12:00PM-1:30PM


Geeta Patel is a Professor at the University of Virginia, with three degrees in science and a doctorate from Columbia University, NY in inter-disciplinary South Asian Studies (in Sanskrit and Urdu). She has published widely in both academic and popular venues on the collusive conundrums posed by bringing gender, nation, sexuality, finance, science, media, capital, and aesthetics together, and translated lyric and prose from Sanskrit, Urdu, Hindi and Braj. Her first monograph, Lyrical Movements, Historical Hauntings: On Gender, Colonialism and Desire in Miraji’s Urdu Poetry, writes the history of Indian literary modernism through its harbinger Miraji. Lyrical Movements imagines its landscape through Urdu lyric infused with sexuality that takes on the depredations of colonial incursions into literary imaginaries. Dr Patel’s second book, Risky Bodies & Techno-Intimacy: Reflections on Sexuality, Media, Science, Finance, uses techno-intimacy as the locus for interrogating capital, science, media and desire. In Risky Bodies Dr. Patel tunes into science in unexpected ways in order to investigate political economy, nationalism, sexuality, financialization, cinema. She is the co-editor of three special issues that engage several of her areas of expertise. “In Queery/In Theory/ In Deed” and “Area Impossible,” for GLQ and “Trust and Islamic Capital” for Society and Business Review. Dr. Patel is completing several other projects: a manuscript on the Muslim woman writer Ismat Chughtai using the history of scientific realism, light, quantum and special relativity as vectors; a manuscript on fantasies embedded in advertising called “Billboard Fantasies.” She is the completing research for and writing a series of small books on historical pensions, insurance, credit and debt. The first is on the first private public pension fund—the Madras Civil Fund which was started in the late 1700s and whose articulation brought Mughal and European notions of financial compensation together. This book will rewrite the commonly understood history of pensions and the welfare state – relocating it from Europe to India and backdating it by about 100 years. It will also rescript the history of capital. Her current research is on the ways in which the history of bacteriology and our relationship to our own bacterial life produces our everyday sense of nationalism as settler colonialists in our own bodies. Dr. Patel and Meghan Hartman are also compiling a monograph of their new translations of Miraji’s poetry. She has recently begun composing her own lyric under the lockdown in India.

Professor Patel also teaches courses on the following: interdisciplinary methodologies starting with field biology and physics and turning to finance, political economy, aesthetics, architecture, political geography, history, anthropology. Popular culture in South Asia: 1800-present. Bollywood. History of trade, finance and traffic in South Asia—Mohenjodaro-1600s. Poetry, art, music. History of science. Sexuality and cinema in South Asia

Publications (Books, Journals)

Lyrical Movements, Historical Hauntings: On Gender, Colonialism and Desire in Miraji’s Urdu Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, Spring 2002). New Indian edition by Manohar Press, 2005.

GLQ: A JOURNAL OF LESBIAN AND GAY STUDIES 2:4, special issue on In Queery/In Theory/ In Deed, Sixth National Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Studies Conference, Co-editor with K. Kopelson (1996).

Publications (Articles, Chapters, Translations and Reviews)

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 “The Queer Subject of Urdu Modernism:  Miraji and Gender Part 1,” Dawn (April 13).

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Ek nazm se:  Meditations on Urdu Modernism,” Dawn (November 10).

“Ruminations on Chronopoetics and the Political Subject: Miraji Reads Faiz Ahmed Faizs Poetry,” Pakistaniaat Special Issue on Faiz Ahmed Faiz.: Vol 5, No 1 (2013): 16-33.

Dreaming in Urdu,” Dawn (February 17).

 “On Miraji,” Asymptote (January 2013).

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Rare Waves of Passion, Lip of Full River, Going, Going, Solitude.” Translations of Miraji from Urdu, Jadid Adab (July 2012-December 2012).

The Poetry of Miraji,” 3-quarks-daily (November).

Sojourns,” Dawn (Pakistan) (November 4).

Promises, Finance and Heteropropriety: Families in Nation-State Formations,” Rethinking Marxism: Special Issue on Sexuality, Heteronormativity and Economy (October).

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“Tall Building: Miraji,” Modern Poetry of Pakistanedited Iftikhar Arif, Waqas Khwaja (Urbana-Champaign and London: Dalkey Archive Press).

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“’Far and Near’ ‘Devadasi and Pujari’ ‘I forgot’: Miraji,” Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Middle East, edited Reza Aslan (Words Without Borders).

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Close and Further:  Dayanita Singhs Blue Photographs,” Art India XIV 2.2.

Childrens Journals in Hindi,” Translating Nationalism: An Anthology of Hindi and Urdu Texts, edited Shobna Nijhawan (Delhi: Permanent Black).

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Palette of Stories,” Catalogue for Zameen Aasmaan 2an exhibition of watercolors by Mahendra (Manu) Sangari (New Delhi: Ishtihaar).

Ghostly Appearances: Time Tales Tallied Up,” (republication) Secularisms, edited Janet R. Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini (Durham: Duke University Press).

Translations of Miraji and Majaz,” Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature, edited Mehr Farooqi (New Delhi: Oxford University Press).

Longing for Mourning,” Studies in Gender and Sexuality 9.2 (April-June).

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Time to Tell: How to Tell the Proper Time. Finance and Cinema,” GLQ 13.2-3.

Risky Lives,” The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India, edited Brinda Bose and Subhabrata Bhattacharyya (Calcutta: Seagull Press).

Imagining Risk Care and Security: Insurance and Fantasy,” Anthropological Theory 7.1 (March).

The Rasa of Unimaginable Grief,” Parasher—Partition and Beyond (London and Berlin: Indian Council for Cultural Relations).

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Risky Subjects:  Insurance, Sexuality and Capital,” Social Text 89 (Winter).

A Life-Time of Death,” Catamaran 5.

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The Love Song of the Clerk,” Indian Love Poems, edited Meena Alexander (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series).

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Homely Housewives Run Amok: Lesbians in Marital Fixes,” Public Culture 16.1.

Contemporary Mandalas,” Time, Space, Light, Consciousness: S.L. Parasher (Exhibition Catalogue), edited Prajna Parasher (New Delhi: Sarnir Foundation).

Insurance,” Shock and Awe, edited Bregje Van Eekelen, Jennifer González, Bettina Stötzer, Anna Tsing (Santa Cruz: New Pacific Press).

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Epic Diaspora Fragments,” Gender Nonconformity, Race, and Sexuality: Charting the Connections, edited Toni Lester (Madison:  University of Wisconsin Press).

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Journey to Mirajis Mountain,” Into the High Ranges, edited Ravina Aggarwal (Delhi: Penguin India).

Antipodes Bound,” Antipode 34.5.

Tracking Same–Sex Love from Antiquity to the Present in South Asia,” published with George, R.M.; Chatterjee, I.; Gopinath, G.; Naim, C. M.; Vanita R. Gender & History 14.1.

On Fire:  Sexuality and its Incitements,” Queering India: Same Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society, edited Ruth Vanita (New York, London: Routledge).

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An Uncivil Woman: Ismat Chughtai,” The Annual of Urdu Studies 16.2.     

Marking the Quilt: Veil, Harem/Home and Sexual Subversion within Them,” Colby Quarterly 37.1.

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Ghostly Appearances: Time Tales Tallied Up,” Social Text 64.

Whither Language? Where Race?—Multiculturalism in the United States,” in “U.S./Canadian writers’ perspectives on the multiculturalism debates: a round-table discussion at Harvard University/Symposium,” Canadian Literature 64.

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Trial by Fire: A Local Global View,” Gay Community News 25.1.

Mirror and Breath:  Grandmother and I,” Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 19.

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Transactions: Teaching and Reading Gender Across Borders,” Women's Studies International Quarterly 1998.

Stories for the Millennium: Disrupting Time [the Indian way],” Gay Community News 23.4.

“’Movement’ and ‘Going, going ...’ translations of poems by Miraji,” Exchanges 10.

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I Speak Therefore I Am: Gender and Voice, Signature and Audience in North Indian Lyric Traditions,

Reflexivity and Voice, edited Rosanna Hertz (Thousand Oaks CA.: Sage Press).

Home, Homo, Hybrid:  Translating Gender,” College Literature 24.1.

Epic Diaspora Fragments,” Trikone 12.2.

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Myth and Memory:  Musings from 'Incomplete Self-Portrait',” Annual of Urdu Studies 10.

Cross-Cultural Sexuality,” Radical History Review, Queer Issue 62 (Spring 1995).

Ice Armor,” translation of short story by Susham Bedi, Living in America: Poetry and Fiction by South Asian American Writers, edited R. Rustomji-Kerns (Boulder:  Westview Press).

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Re-Naming Oneself: Miraji and the Politics of Gender,” Annual of Urdu Studies 8.

Review of Tale of the Old Fisherman:  Contemporary Urdu Short Stories (translated Muhammad Umar Memon),” The Journal of Asian Studies 52.4.

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An Evening on the Far Side of the Wineglass,” Modern Indian Literature:  An Anthology (Volume One:  Surveys and Poems), K.M. George, Chief Editor (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi).  Reprinted translation of poem by Miraji, Annual of Urdu Studies 8. 

Review of “Three Indian Poets: Nissim Ezekiel, A. K. Ramanujan, Dom Moraes (by Bruce King),” The Journal of Asian Studies 51.4.

Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures