Sheshalatha Reddy

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20142015 Forum on Color

Sheshalatha Reddy

Assistant Professor of English
Howard University

Sheshalatha Reddy is Assistant Professor of English at Howard University where she teaches British and Anglophone colonial and postcolonial literatures. She has published articles in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and Victorian Literature and Culture as well as an edited anthology entitled Mapping the Nation: An Anthology of Indian Poetry in English, 1870-1920. Her current manuscript project, entitled Revolting Bodies: Colonial Resistance, National Self-Determination, and Post-Colonial Labor, examines how pre- and post-independence nationalist discourses re-staged mid-nineteenth-century colonial uprisings, specifically the Sepoy Rebellion (1857) in India, the Morant Bay Rebellion (1865) in Jamaica, and the Fenian Rebellion (1867) in Ireland. The manuscript tracks the ways these late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century reassessments of a former moment of colonial resistance manifested contemporary anxieties regarding the raced, gendered, and laboring body and its “fitness” for self-rule in three “pre-industrial" colonial economies before moving to an assessment of the historical and cultural transformation of those anxieties in twenty-first century discourses on “surplus labor” in a transnational, neo-imperial global economy.

Cellular Structures/Circulating Bodies: The Red, Green, and In-Between Spaces and Networks of Fenian Resistance

The Fenian Uprising of 1867 was an Irish anticolonial resistance movement against the British Empire that would prefigure the later Independence movement, using the concept-metaphor of the cell. I explore how pigment[ation], which I understand as an infusion of color into the cell of a plant, animal or space, allows a point of entry into understanding the nexus of race (the “white but not quite” Irish of British imperial discourse), labor (representations of sepia-hued urban spaces), struggle (the red blood spilled for the cause) and land (the nationalist “greening,” and subsequent commodification, of the “Emerald Isle”). In so doing, I unravel (post-) colonial and nationalist fixations on bodies, both rebellious and “surplus,” during a period of uneven industrial capitalism.