Wilkes University

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Dr.   Jap-Nanak  K.  Makkar

Assistant Professor
  • Ph.D., English Language and Literature, University of Virginia, 2018
  • M.A., English Literature, University of Toronto, 2011
  • B.A. (Hons.), English Literature, University of Toronto, 2010

I approach my teaching and research with two joint aims: to promote the skills of deep historicism and critique, and to expose existing gaps in knowledge through interdisciplinary analysis.

As a teacher-scholar who integrates the analytic frameworks of postcolonial literature and critical media studies, I encourage students to ask “postcolonial questions” of digital projects. (During a recent class, we reflected: how might the Walt Whitman archive reinforce traditional ideas of canon formation? How have conservative biases within literary studies shaped digital humanities to this point?) In my own work, I am initiating a turn toward the contextualization of postcolonial literature in terms of technological history. (An essay, currently in progress, will assess Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being in relation to the history of interfaces.)

I endeavor to teach the importance of framing a question through several analytic lenses—but often find the students help me do the same.  Seeing through their fresh eyes, I relearn the difference an ellipsis makes—and begin to value formalism once again.

My teaching and research areas include postcolonial literature, diasporic literature, postcolonial and global theory, South Asian fiction, digital humanities, media theory, and advanced topics in new media studies.

I have taught or will teach the following courses at Wilkes:

  • Survey of English Literature II: Romanticism to Present
  • Introduction to Literature and Culture (“Cultural Crossroads”)
  • Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • Composition

Currently, I am revising a book project titled Postcolonial Omniscience: Literature & Technology after Modernism, which examines the aesthetic resources of postcolonial literature in relation to "modernist" technologies, such as digital interfaces, data-mining applications and predictive software. 

My peer-reviewed publications include the following:

  • “Coetzee’s Formalism, Literary Proprietorship and Digital Copyright,” Contemporary Literature, forthcoming (Summer 2019).
  • “More on the Missing ½ Second: A Review of Hansen (2000, 2015) and Hayles (1999, 2012),” boundary 2, forthcoming.