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Ambreen Hai earned a B.A. in English, philosophy and economics from Wellesley College and an M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. from Yale University.
Professor Hai teaches literature of the British empire, Anglophone postcolonial literature from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and 20th century critical theory. She is also affiliated with the Program in the Study of Women and Gender and the South Asia concentration, and teaches introductory courses for both. She has published articles on Rudyard Kipling, E. M. Forster, Salman Rushdie, Bapsi Sidhwa, Jhumpa Lahiri, and postcolonial memoir, as well as book reviews in various scholarly journals such as English Literary History, Literature Interpretation Theory, Modern Fiction Studies, Twentieth-Century Literature, Meridians, Pakistaniaat, Modern Language Quarterly, and Victorian Studies.
Professor Hai's book Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (Ohio University Press, 2009), examines how, in the context of colonization, an anxiety about their own agency shapes colonial and postcolonial narratives, and why that anxiety is manifested through the imagining of the text as a human body. It focuses on the work of Kipling, Forster, and Rushdie, but extends it argument to include writers such as Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, Derek Walcott, Grace Nichols, Michelle Cliff and Shani Mootoo.
She is currently working on a book project on domestic servants in postcolonial literature primarily from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the South Asian diaspora.