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I received my PhD in English from the University of Montreal, for which I was awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal.
My research, teaching and creative writing is greatly influenced by a personal history of multiple migrations, from Pakistan to England, and later to the Philippines and Canada. My publications include my first book Mythologies of Migration, Vocabularies of Indenture: Novels of the South Asian Diaspora in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific, and a co-edited collection Critical Perspectives on Indo-Caribbean Women's Literature. I am also the guest editor of a special issue, "South Asian Canadian Literature: A Centennial Journey," for the journal Studies in Canadian Literature. I have published critical surveys on South Asian and Caribbean literatures, and on authors such as Anita Rau Badami, Shani Mootoo and Salman Rushdie. My articles have appeared in refereed journals such as Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Journal of Commonwealth Literature and Canadian Literature.
I am also the current president of the Canadian Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (CACLALS), which is Canada's oldest and largest postcolonial studies association.
The main areas of my research are postcolonial and diaspora studies. The specific areas of my research are:
I have held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Standard Research grant for a multilingual project on Indo-Caribbean literature. Most recently, I have been examining literature by and about the South Asian Canadian diaspora, with a particular emphasis on recent works of fiction. I am also increasingly interested in citizenship studies.
Recently, much of the research assistantship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students I have provided pertain to the literatures and cultures of the South Asian diaspora, particularly in the Caribbean and North American contexts.
As post-colonial scholars often do, I have supervised or supported a wide range of doctoral research. Recently completed or near-completion dissertations include a study of Arab-American /Arab-Canadian fiction (nominated for the prestigious University Microfilms International Dissertation Award), and a study of humour and nationhood in South African Drama. For graduate supervision, I look forward to working with students who can push the envelope –theoretically and critically – in postcolonial studies, and I am open to considering prospective projects in Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean studies, South Asian literature (in English), South Asian Canadian literature, post-colonial women's writing, and minority/multicultural writing in North America (see also “Research/Areas of Expertise”).
Office location: DAWB (Dr. Alvin Woods Building) 3-119
Languages spoken: English, French
Author website: mariampirbhai.ca
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