Ambreen Hai

Professor of English Language & Literature

Ambreen Hai

Contact & Office Hours

Contact for office hours.

Wright Hall 213


Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A., Yale University

B.A., Wellesley College


Ambreen Hai specializes in Anglophone postcolonial literature from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, 19th–20th century literature of the British Empire and contemporary literary theory. She has published widely on postcolonial and transnational writing, with a focus on South Asia and its diaspora. Her first book, Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (2009), looks at the work of Rudyard Kipling, E. M. Forster and Salman Rushdie, and examines how, in the context of colonization, a self-reflexive anxiety about their own agency shapes colonial and postcolonial narratives, and why that anxiety is articulated through the figure of the human body. Work in progress includes a book manuscript on gendered domestic servitude in contemporary postcolonial and South Asian transnational literature, as well as articles on responses to post-9/11 Islamophobia and strategies of humor.

In addition to teaching postcolonial literatures and methods of literary study, she will offer a new course in spring 2018 on race, gender, imperialism and film adaptation from Jane Austen to the present. She is affiliated with the Program in the Study of Women and Gender and the South Asia Concentration, and teaches for both.

Selected Articles

“Uses of Humor in Post-9/11 Pakistani Anglophone Fiction: H. M. Naqvi’s Home Boy and Mohammed Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes.” Forthcoming. The Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing: Origins, Contestations, New Horizons, edited by Aroosa Kanwal and Saiyma Aslam, Routledge, UK.

“Complicating Collusion and Resistance: Teaching Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace and the Ethics of Colonized Subjecthood.” Forthcoming. MLA Approaches to Teaching the Works of Amitav Ghosh, eds., Gaurav Desai and John Hawley.

“Motherhood and Domestic Servitude in Transnational Women’s Fiction: Thrity Umrigar’s The Space Between Us and Mona Simpson’s My Hollywood.” Contemporary Literature, 57.4 (Winter 2016): 500-540.

“‘There’s Always the Other Side, Always’: Black Servants’ Laughter, Knowledge, and Power in Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea.” Modernism/Modernity 22.3 (September 2015): 493-522.  

“Postcolonial Servitude: Interiority and System in Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders: Domestic Servitude and South Asian Literary History.” ARIEL, A Review of International English Literature 45.3 (July 2014): 33-74.

“Adultery Behind Purdah and the Politics of Indian Muslim Nationalism in Zeenuth Futehally’s Zohra” (In special issue of Modern Fiction Studies on “Women's Fiction, New Modernist Studies, and Feminism”) 59.2 (Summer 2013): 317-345.

“Re-Rooting Families: The Alter/Natal as the Central Dynamic of Jhumpa Lahiri’s  Unaccustomed Earth”. In Naming Jhumpa Lahiri: Canons and Controversies, edited by Lavina Dhingra and Floyd Cheung, 181-209. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.

“Reading Fawzia Afzal-Khan’s Lahore With Love: Class and the Ethics of Memoir.” Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies. 3:2 (Summer 2011): 29-51.

"Forster and the Fantastic: The Covert Politics of The Celestial Omnibus.Twentieth-Century Literature 54.2 (Summer 2008): 217-246.

“Out in the Woods: E. M. Forster’s Spatial Allegories of Property, Sexuality, and Colonialism.” Literature, Interpretation, Theory. 14.4 (Oct.-Dec. 2003): 317-55.

“Departures from Karachi Airport: Some Reflections on Feminist Outrage.” Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism  4.1 (October 2003): 142-64.

"Border Work, Border Trouble: Postcolonial Feminism and the Ayah in Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India." Modern Fiction Studies 46.2 (June 2000): 379-426.    

"'Marching in from the Peripheries': Rushdie's Feminized Artistry and Ambivalent Feminism." In Critical Essays on Salman Rushdie, edited by M. Keith Booker, 16-50. New York: G. K. Hall, 1999.

"Children of an Other Language: Kipling's Stories, Interracial Progeny, and Questions of Censorship." Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies 5.2 (Fall 1998): 49-80.

"On Truth and Lie in a Colonial Sense: Kipling's Tales of Tale-Telling." ELH (English Literary History) 64.2 (Summer 1997): 599-625.