Amit Ray Headshot

Amit Ray

Associate Professor

Department of English
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-2437
Office Location
Office Mailing Address
06-2309

Amit Ray

Associate Professor

Department of English
College of Liberal Arts

Education

BA, State University of New York at Buffalo; MA, Ph.D., University of Michigan

Bio

I did my graduate work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. There I was exposed to a thoroughly interdisciplinary environment. We were encouraged to collaborate with faculty and students from a host of other disciplines. My work, though primarily literature-based, was shaped by disciplines such as comparative literature, history, anthropology, cultural studies and area studies. The bulk of my training was in the field of colonial/postcolonial studies, with special focus on British Colonialism in South Asia.

As much of my research has involved the study of colonialism and its aftermaths, I have a keen interest in following the varied and uneven consequences of globalization throughout the world. Much of my teaching relates to the politics and poetics of culture in a transnational era, especially as they relate to the dominant role of the United States in the present world-system. In most of my courses, in addition to the study of literature, I include literary and cultural theory, visual studies, popular culture and extensive historical context.

While at RIT, I have pursued a keen interest in new media, with particular emphasis on wikis. Wikis are software programs that allow users to create and edit webpages with only their browser. I have been a member of RIT's Lab for Social Computing since its inception in 2004. My current research involves using literary and cultural theory to better understand how wikis influence the larger society. Presently, I am preparing a book about how wikis challenge established notions of authorship, authority and expertise.

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Currently Teaching

ENGL-210
3 Credits
In this course, students will study literature, movements, and writers within their cultural contexts and in relation to modes of literary production and circulation. Students will hone their skills as attentive readers and will engage with literary analysis and cultural criticism. The class will incorporate various literary, cultural, and interdisciplinary theories--such as psychoanalytic theory, feminist and queer theories, critical race studies, and postcolonial theory. Using these theoretical frameworks in order to study texts, students will gain a strong foundation for analyzing the ways literary language functions and exploring the interrelations among literature, culture, and history. In doing so, they will engage issues involving culture, identity, language, ethics, race, gender, class, and globalism, among many others.
ENGL-215
3 Credits
We encounter digital texts and codes every time we use a smart phone, turn on an app, read an e-book, or interact online. This course examines the innovative combinations of text and code that underpin emerging textual practices such as electronic literatures, digital games, mobile communication, geospatial mapping, interactive and locative media, augmented reality, and interactive museum design. Drawing on key concepts of text and code in related fields, students will analyze shifting expressive textual practices and develop the literacies necessary to read and understand them. Practicing and reflecting on such new media literacies, the course explores their social, cultural, creative, technological, and legal significance. To encourage multiple perspectives on these pivotal concepts of text and code and their import, the course includes guest lectures by scholars and practitioners in these fields.
ENGL-316
3 Credits
This course presents a study of global literature by engaging in critically informed analysis of texts from different geographical regions or cultural perspectives. Students will discover new modes for thinking about what global literature is, and how globalizing impulses have changed and shaped our world. One of the goals of the class is to analyze and discuss the works in their respective socio-historical contexts, with a special focus on the theme of encounter or contact zones. The impact of various factors such as migration, nationality, class, race, gender, generation, and religion will also be taken into consideration. The course can be repeated up to two times, for 6 semester credit hours, as long as the topics are different.
ENGL-325H
3 Credits
A critical examination of themes, topics, theories and practices in a literary or writing studies area associated with existing courses in the English curriculum, or with a special topics area. The approach to this literary or writing studies topic will be specially geared to honors students and others who wish to participate in a more in-depth and rigorous exploration of a literary or writing set of topics.
ENGL-373
3 Credits
This course introduces students to the field of adaptation studies and explores the changes that occur as particular texts such as print, radio, theatre, television, film, and videogames move between various cultural forms and amongst different cultural contexts. The course focuses upon works that have been disseminated in more than one medium.
ENGL-421
3 Credits
This course charts the development of the graphic novel, examines that history in relation to other media (including literary works, comics, film, and video games), and reflects on how images and writing function in relation to one another. Primary readings will be supplemented with secondary works that address socio-historical contexts, interpretive approaches and the cultural politics of the medium, such as representations of class, race, gender, and ethnicity.
ENGL-450
3 Credits
This course charts the development of the free culture movement by examining the changing relationship between authorship and cultural production based on a variety of factors: law, culture, commerce and technology. In particular, we will examine the rise of the concept of the individual author during the last three centuries. Using a variety of historical and theoretical readings, we will note how law and commerce have come to shape the prevailing cultural norms surrounding authorship, while also examining lesser known models of collaborative and distributed authoring practices. This background will inform our study of the rapid social transformations wrought by media technologies in last two centuries, culminating with the challenges and opportunities brought forth by digital media, mobile communications and networked computing. Students will learn about the role of software in highlighting changing authorship practices, facilitating new business and economic models and providing a foundation for conceiving of open source, open access, participatory, peer-to-peer and Free (as in speech, not beer) cultures.
PROF-798
3 Credits
Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of faculty.