Dr. Ritam Dutta

Dr. Ritam Dutta

Assistant Professor

Profile Summary

Raised in Kolkata – a city known for its vibrant intellectual āddās, Ritam was first introduced to its joys in his school days and was eventually ‘un-schooled’ in his various āddās at Jadavpur University, from where he later received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Comparative Literature as well.

After three years of teaching Business Communication in various institutions in India, Ritam moved to the United States as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow at Indiana University, Bloomington to expand his teaching experience and cultural understanding. His enthusiasm for interdisciplinary studies led him to pursue a dual Ph.D. at the College of Education, Pennsylvania State University. Ritam's research focused on the āddās of Bengali college students in Kolkata, exploring the cultural, social, and educational aspects of these informal gatherings. Further, Ritam has also earned several professional and academic certifications from ranking institutions and universities in India and abroad.

Currently, Ritam works as an assistant professor at the School of Liberal Studies, UPES. With almost 15 years of teaching experience in both India and the United States, he remains a dedicated educator. Ritam's scholarly pursuits revolve around the intersections of literature, culture, education, and learning in informal cultural spaces. He is particularly interested in understanding the complex relationships between cultural practices, cultural spaces, cultural texts, records, and informal learning and education.

Āddā still continues to be his principal area of interest – academic or otherwise.

Work Experience

Ritam has a diverse range of teaching experience across various educational institutions, including universities and academies in India and abroad, where he has taught subjects such as Business Communication, Comparative Literature, English language and literature, Children’s literature, English and Bengali languages. He has also been involved in curriculum design, exam grading, and other administrative duties.

Before joining UPES, where he has been teaching for close to three years now, Ritam has taught in universities and institutes like the University of Calcutta, Raffles University, Pennsylvania State University, Indiana University, NSHM Academy, and TEFL International Institute.

Research Interests

Ritam is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research interests encompass a wide range of topics in education, literature, and cultural studies, including learning in higher education, intercultural understanding through adolescent literature, critical analysis of multicultural children's books, etc. Ritam has also explored topics such as the transformative power of literature in fostering intercultural understanding, the role of cultural spaces like āddās in higher education, the exploration of narratives in ancient and medieval Indian literature, and the portrayal of madness in contemporary Indian short stories. Ritam also delves into issues of diversity, assimilation, diaspora, and nationalism in literary contexts. His expertise also extends to areas such as critical thinking, design thinking, leadership, legal English, academic writing, children’s literature, translation and Indian English literature.

Overall, Ritam's research interests canter around the intersections of literature, culture, education, and informal learning in various cultural spaces, with a focus on understanding the complex relationships between cultural practices, spaces, texts, records, and education. He explores the complexities of these relationships and contributes to a nuanced understanding of literature, education, and cultural dynamics in and through his research.

Teaching Philosophy

Ritam’s teaching philosophy revolves around creating a student-centric, constructivist learning environment that empowers learners to actively construct their knowledge and embark on a path of self-discovery through engaging interactions between peers. He believes in fostering students' intellectual growth through the transformative power of Socratic dialogues, which encourages critical thinking and meaningful discussions.

Drawing inspiration from his own concept of an adda-based pedagogy, he attempts to create informal yet intellectually stimulating, collaborative, equitable, and inclusive spaces for open discussions that promote interaction and exchange of diverse ideas and thoughts. Integrating design thinking principles, he strives to empower students by helping them cultivate creativity, problem-solving attitudes, and empathy for tackling real-world challenges innovatively.

Furthermore, through the use of case studies, he tries to bridge the gap between theory and practice by encouraging students to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, thereby promoting active learning and holistic development. By combining these elements, he aims to nurture engaged and empowered learners who can navigate complexities and contribute to their communities.

Ultimately, his goal is to empower students to become lifelong learners, equipped with real-life skills and confidence to thrive in a diverse and ever-changing world.

Courses Taught

  • Business Communication
  • Communicative English
  • Legal English
  • English for the Workplace
  • English language and Communication
  • Communicative English and Personality Development
  • Communicating with Customers
  • Teaching to Read, Write, and Speak in English
  • Living Conversations
  • Bengali language and Culture
  • Critical Thinking and Writing
  • Leadership and Teamwork
  • Learning How to Learn
  • Design Thinking
  • Comparative Literature
  • Children’s Literature
  • Indian Diasporic Literature
  • Indian English Literature
  • Nationalism
  • Reception of Kalidāsa’s Abhijnānasakuntalām

Awards and Grants

  • Fulbright Fellowship Award 2008
  • Blackboard Catalyst Award 2022 (Student Success Category)
  • Blackboard Catalyst Award 2022 (Teaching and Learning Category)
  • US Alumni Micro Grants Award 2022
  • Blackboard Catalyst Award 2023 (Teaching and Learning Category)

Scholarly Activities

With his several publications in prestigious journals and books, Ritam has made significant contributions to his field. Notably, he has authored book chapters exploring the sociability practices of women in Bengali āddās, the construction of race in European folk tales, and pedagogic uses of design thinking in life skills training in higher education. Ritam has also co-edited a book on Indian short stories and presented research on critical humanities education and āddā-based pedagogy at international conferences, besides authoring journal articles that delve into topics like dialogue and answerability in humanities education and the past and present of āddā.

He is also currently supervising a Ph.D. dissertation on Costume Histories as Cultural Heritage of the Central Himalayas from 16th to 19th Century.