In her dissertation, Gayathri examines representations of interspecies interactions in World Literature to show that humans and nonhumans (plants, animals, land, etc.) are co-actors in resisting colonial violence. Her conception of “entanglements” recognizes that human and nonhuman lives are intertwined complexly in the exploitation of the environment. Capitalist or state sanctioned ecological violence impacts both humans and nonhumans, albeit in differing ways and degrees. Grounding her dissertation in the works of writers of color, Gayathri explores creative ways to form kinship with nonhumans in a collective struggle for ecological liberation. Through literary analysis, Gayathri argues that nonhumans possess agency and can be envisioned as political actors with the power to act with us in resisting environmental violence. Her dissertation weds literary criticism with scholarship from Political Ecology, Environmental Philosophy, and Environmental Anthropology to demonstrate the importance of engaging with a plurality of fields and to address questions of ecological justice effectively.
Gayathri is a PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the English department. She expects to complete her studies in May 2020. Before coming to Tufts, Gayathri earned her B.A. (Honors) from Jadavpur University in English Literature, and her M.A. in English Literature from San Jose University. Gayathri has taught English language, composition, and literature for over 10 years. At Tufts, Gayathri is a graduate writing consultant with the Academic Resource Center.
Current Studies and Future Goals
When asked what she found most meaningful about her field of study, Gayathri responded with the following: "Typically, earning a doctorate involves exploring a narrow field of interest in great depth. However, my dissertation in English literature allows me to make radically new connections across disciplines that are just as exciting".
When asked what interested her in becoming a TIE Fellow, Gayathri responded with the following: "I appreciate the fact that the TIE program is interdisciplinary. This aspect aligns with one of the more fundamental objectives of my dissertation--to make critical connections between the sciences and humanities".
Gayathri would like to continue working in academia and pursuing her research exploring environmental justice issues once she completes her studies at Tufts.
When not working on her dissertation, Gayathri can be found hiking the Middlesex Fells, learning about North American Vegetation, or exploring pond trails around Boston. She also enjoys hiking the White Mountains, when she has time.