Periods: Modern and Contemporary
Languages: Bengali, German, French
Research Interests: Marxism, Deconstruction, Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Translation Problems, Subaltern Predicaments
Office Hours Spring 2018: Wednesdays 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, or by appointment. Please use WASS to schedule.
I am a comparatist and not an area expert. My teaching, research, and writing focus on problems of representation, language, idiom, and translation; the politics of culture and cultural politics; historical and contemporary modes and situations of subalternity; differentiated patterns of modern imperialism and colonialism; Marxism in an international framework. The parts of the world I work on are generally pockets of South Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa; and the limits of my scholarship confine me mainly, but not exclusively, to modern and contemporary conjunctures. I have learned from and continue to try and teach Marxist theory, deconstruction, and postcolonial theory.
My current book is a series of overlapping case studies that takes on board the complex cultural politics of indigeneity and vanguardism in the interwar period. It examines literary and political problems in instances as diverse as the Harlem Renaissance, the Mexican Revolution, the Gandhian uprisings in India, the fringes of fascism in Europe, and the colonial French Caribbean. New research is on the history of the working class Internationals and efforts toward epistemic change outside Europe. Hence: translation problems. Ongoing group interdisciplinary projects include: Radiating Globality (prehistories of so-called globalization in Senegambia and French India); Rethinking South Asian Studies/Himalayan Regionalism (Kolkata-Kathmandu-Kunming); academic consultancy on Documenting the Mother Tongues of Africa (large consortial multimedia/digital project).
Ben Baer is an executive member of Princeton’s Program in South Asian Studies.
The Tale of Hansuli Turn by Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay. Translated and introduced by Ben Conisbee Baer. Columbia University Press, 2011.
Indigenous Vanguards: Literary Modernity in Different Tongues. In contract and forthcoming with Columbia University Press.
“Schiz-ability.” PMLA. Vol. 29, no. 3. May 2014.
“It’s Only the End of the World.” Boundary 2. Vol. 41, no. 2. Summer 2014.
“What Is Special About Postcolonial Translation?” Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Translation Studies, eds. Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter. (2014, Wiley-Blackwell).
“Karl Marx: Theorist of Capital and Social Justice.” Modern Social Thinkers, ed. Pradip Basu. (2012, Setu).
“Spivak Lessons: Review of Sangeeta Ray, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: In Other Words.” Cultural Critique, no. 80, (Winter 2012).
“Terodacktil Apocalypse: Writing Catastrophe in Mahasweta Devi’s Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha.” In Culture, Environment, and Eco-Politics, eds. N. Heffernan and D. Wragg (2011, CSP).
“Creole Glossary: Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay’s Hansuli Banker Upakatha.” PMLA, 125:3 (May 2010).
‘Forest Interface.’ Book chapter in Pradip Basu (ed.) Discourses on Naxalite Movement (1967-2009): Insights into Radical Left Politics (Kolkata: Setu Prakashani), 2010.
‘Creole Glossary: Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay’s Hansuli Banker Upakatha,’ PMLA, vol. 25 no. 3, May 2010
‘Edward Said Remembered on 9/11/2004: An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’ in Adel Iskandar and Hakem Rustom (eds.), Edward Said: Emancipation and Representation (University of California Press, 2010)
‘Shit Writing: Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable, the Image of Gandhi, and the All India Progressive Writers’ Association,’ Modernism/Modernity 16:3, September 2009