Manas Ray

Manas Ray


Profile Summary

Manas Ray joined the School of Liberal Studies, UPES, as a professor in 2022 and leads the planetary and cultural studies group. He is working towards the setting of the Centre of Planetary and Cultural Studies which will offer BA (major), MA, and PhD courses. He is the coordinator of the Cultural Studies Workshop, an annual pedagogic, week-long workshop in Cultural Studies meant for doctoral and post-doctoral scholars across India. In October 2023 he will be coordinating an international conference on planetary studies to be joined in person among others by Prof Dipesh Chakrabarty, a leading international figure in the humanities. Among Ray’s recent publications are two edited books on contemporary Indian democracy (December 2021): Crisis of Liberal Deliberation: Facets of Indian Democracy & State of Democracy in India: essays on life and politics in contemporary times. The two books together make for the most extensive collection of essays on contemporary Indian democracy. The premier history journal, History Workshop Journal, mentions his autobiographical ethnography of post-partition Calcutta, ‘Growing Up Refugee’ (2002), as one of the most circulated and cited articles to be published by it. He has recently published a sequel, ‘The Volatile 70s’ (2023), in the same journal. Both the articles have received celebratory comments from the Nobel laureate and two-time Booker awardee, John Coetzee.

Work Experience

Formerly, he was a professor of Cultural Studies at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), one of the most well-known institutes of research and higher learning in social sciences and humanities in India. He has held visiting fellowships and teaching positions in leading institutions of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Australia, and South Africa.

Research Interests

Manas Ray works at the interface of contemporary political theory and cultural studies and has published on a wide spectrum of areas including biopolitics, continental philosophy, critical legal theory, Foucault and governmentality, visual culture, film studies (especially, New German Cinema), diaspora and Bollywood, disaster migration, and memory and locality in post-partition Kolkata. He is widely published in leading international and national journals. He has more than thirty anthologized articles.

Teaching Philosophy

Manas Ray tries to establish close interactive relationships with students and inspires them to question whatever is taken for granted. He appreciates a humane and realistic approach to problems that make our everyday life and encourages his students to anticipate problems.

Courses Taught

In a teaching career spanning more than 25 years, he has taught a number of diverse courses like ‘Film and Television Theory’; ‘Cultures of Postcoloniality’, “Biopolitics, Ethics, and Subjectivation’; and several others. At UPES, he is scheduled to offer a course on ‘The Planetary Age’ and ‘Modernity and the Making of the Social’. Both are MA/PhD level courses to be offered from 2024. He will offer a course on planetary studies in August—December 2023 for BA students.

Awards and Grants

Awarded “Erudite Scholar, 2017” by the Higher Education Council, Government of Kerala.

Scholarly Activities

As the coordinator of the Cultural Studies Workshop hosted by the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC) for the largest part of its life of twenty years, he has played a key role in the spread and dissemination of cultural studies in India and the global South.