Ketu Katrak

Picture of Ketu Katrak
Professor, Drama
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
PH.D., Bryn Mawr College
Fax: (949) 824-3475
University of California, Irvine
249 Drama
Mail Code: 2775
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Asian American Literature; Postcolonial Literature and Theory; Women Writers and Feminist Theory; Diasporic Literatures; Biography and Autobiography
Research Abstract
Ketu H. Katrak born in Bombay, India, is Professor of Drama at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She was founding Chair of the Department of Asian American Studies (1996-2004) at UCI, and prior to that has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Yale University. Katrak has published in the fields of Drama and Performance, African Drama and Ancient Sanskrit Drama (from India), Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Women Writers and Feminist Theory. She is the author of Wole Soyinka and Modern Tragedy: A Study of Dramatic Theory and Practice; and of Politics of the Female Body: Postcolonial Women Writers of the Third World among other co-edited books and essays published in journals such as Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of Asian Studies among others. Katrak's forthcoming book, Contemporary Choreography in Indian Dance: Towards a New Language of Dance in India and the Diaspora will be published by Palgrave/ Macmillan (2011). She is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Award to India (2005-06), a Bunting Institute Fellowship (Harvard/Radcliffe, 1988-89), among other awards. She worked as dramaturg for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's (OSF) production of the Ancient Sanskrit drama, The Clay Cart (2007), and for OSF's Education office for their production of Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's drama, Death and the King's Horseman (2008).

Contemporary Indian Dance: New Creative Choreography in India and the Diaspora (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Politics of the Female Body: Postcolonial Women Writers of the Third World. New Brunswick, N.J. & London: Rutgers University Press, 2006, pp.291.

Wole Soyinka and Modern Tragedy: A Study of Dramatic Theory and Practice. Westport, CT., N.Y., London: Greenwood Press, 1986, pp.192.

Co-editor with Phanuel Egejuru, Nwanyibu: Womanbeing and African Literature (Proceedings of the African Literature Association Conference 1991), Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1997, pp.168 (50% co-author of Introduction, 50% editorial work)

Co-editor, and Introduction, with Shirley Garner et al, Antifeminist Harassment in the Academy. N.Y. & London: Routledge, 1996, pp.228 (Co-author of one essay, and 40% co-editorial work).

Co-editor with James Gibbs and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Wole Soyinka: A Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources. Westport, CT., N.Y., London: Greenwood Press, 1986, pp.107 (80% compiling and editorial work).

Guest-Editor, with R. Radhakrishnan, The Massachusetts Review, XXIX, no.4 (Winter 1988-89), Special Issue: "Desh-Videsh: South Asian Expatriate Writing and Art" (50% Introduction and editorial work).


"Creative Representation of 'Madness' Accessing the 'Divine': Mystic Women Poets of India" (on the "Talking Poetry" section, July 2012

"Teaching Aidoo: Theorising via Creative Writing", Essays in Honor of Ama Ata Aidoo at 70: A Reader in African Cultural Studies, Editor, Anne V. Adams. Oxfordshire: Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd., 2012, 138-146

"Eccentric and Divine" (on the "Mad and Divine" Conference on India's Female Saint-poets. Chennai, December 23-25, 2011) The Hindu, December 29, 2011

"The Post Natyam Collective: Negotiating Space in Making Contemporary Indian Dance", Pulse: Asian Music and Dance, Spring 2011

"Glimpses into the Past, Present, and Future of Solo Dance",, June 2010.

"Transnational Links: South Asian American Women's Organizations and Autonomous Women's Groups in India", Amerasia Journal 35:1 (2009), 194-214

"Towards Defining Contemporary Indian Dance: A Global Form", Proceedings of the 2008 Congress of Research on Dance Conference (University of Illinois Press, 2009) pp.20

"The Arts of Resistance: Arundhati Roy, Denise Uyehara and the Ethno-Global Imagination", in Violence Performed: Local Roots and Global Routes, eds. Patrick Anderson & Jisha Menon (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 244-263

"The Gestures of Bharata Natyam: Migrating into Diasporic Contemporary Indian Dance" in The Migration of Gesture: Art, Film, Dance, Writing, eds. Carrie Noland & Sally Ann Ness. (Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 217-240

"Literary Matters: Research Methods in Reading Ethnic Literatures", in Ethnic Studies Research: Approaches and Perspectives, Editor, Timothy Fong (Lanham, NY, Toronto, Plymouth, U.K: Alta Mira Press, 2008), 257-279

"Cultural Translation of Bharata Natyam into Contemporary Indian Dance", Focus India: Postcolonial Narratives of the Nation, eds. T. Vijay Kumar et al (New Delhi: Pencraft, 2007), 183-203.

"Medha Yodh: Dance Exponent and Critic", Sruti: India's Premier Magazine for the Performing Arts (October 2007), 31-32

"Images of Strong Womanhood-A Production Goes Awry", (website on Bharata Natyam) (October 2006), pp.4

"Diasporic Belongings: Selected Asian American Literary and Cultural Expressions, in The Borders in All of Us: New Approaches to Three Ethnic and Global Diasporic Societies, eds., William A. Little et al (Northridge, CA; New World African Press, 2006, 222-247

"Still Waters Run Deep: Deepa Mehta's Water, and Sharada Ramanathan's Sringaram: The Dance of Love", in India Currents, 20:4 (July 2006), 10, 12.

"Still Waters Run Deep: Deepa Mehta's Water, and Sharada Ramanathan's Sringaram: The Dance of Love", in Muse India: the literary ejournal, Issue 8 (July-August 2006, 5-10 (Special Feature: "In-dia-sporic Writings")

“Exilic Homes: The Legacy of Edward Said” in Amerasia Journal 31:1 (2005), 34-38.

“Cultural Translation of Bharata Natyam into ‘Contemporary Indian Dance’: Second-generation South Asian Americans and Cultural Politics in Diasporic Locations.” South Asian Popular Culture, 2:2 (October 2004), 79-102.

“’Cultural Translation’ and Agha Shahid Ali’s Uses of the Ghazal Form,” Catamaran magazine: South Asian American Writing, 1 (Fall 2003) [Special Feature: A Retrospective on the celebrated Kashmiri poet, Agha Shahid Ali], 40-59.

“Changing Traditions: South Asian Americans and Cultural/Communal Politics”, The Massachusetts Review, XLIII, no. 1 (Spring 2002), 75-88.

“The Aesthetics of Dislocation”, The Women’s Review of Books, XIX, no. 5 (February 2002), 5-6. [Invited to write for this Special Issue on “The World in the Classroom: Women Teaching Diaspora.”]

“Body Boundarylands: Locating South Asian Ethnicity in Performance and in Daily Life”, Amerasia Journal, 27, 1 (2001), 2-33.

Selected African Writers: Inside-Outsiders and Internal Exile”, Thamyris: Mythmaking from Past to Present (Amsterdam), 6, 2 (Autumn 1999), 141-162.

"South Asian American Writers: Geography and Memory", Amerasia Journal, 22:3 (1996), 121-138.

"Post-colonial Women's Colonized States: Mothering and M-Othering in Bessie Head's A Question of Power and Kamala Das' My Story", Journal of Gender Studies, 5:3 (1996), 273-291.

"'This Englishness will kill you': Colonial(ist) Education and Female Socialization in Merle Hodge's Crick Crack, Monkey, and Bessie Head's Maru", College Literature 22.1, Feb. 1995 (Special Issue: "Third World Women's Inscriptions"), 62-77.

"Alien-Homes: Postcolonial Women's Spaces and the Politics of Location", Resources for Feminist Research, 22, 3/4, (Fall/Winter 1993), 51-56.

"Sistren: Jamaican Women Present Life's Drama", Response, June 1993 (Special Issue: Caribbean Peoples), 16-17, 31.

"Language and Geography: The Postcolonial Critic", Contributions in Black Studies, 9/10 (1990-92), 180-186.

"The Sistren Collective: Women Dramatize Their Lives", African Commentary (August 1990), 27-29.

"Decolonizing Culture: Towards a Theory for Postcolonial Women Writers", Modern Fiction Studies, 35, no.1 (Spring 1989), 157-179.

"Theory and Social Responsibility: Soyinka's Essays", Black American Literature Forum, 22, no.3 (Fall 1988), 489-501.


“Diasporic Belongings: Selected Asian American Literary and Cultural Expressions”, in The Borders in All of Us: New Approaches to Three Ethnic and Global Diasporic Societies, eds., William A. Little et al (Northridge, CA; New World African Press, 2006,, 222-247.

“Bessie Head”, in World Writers in English, ed. Jay Parini (Charles Scribners, 2004), 157-176.

“Diasporic Alienness and Belonging: Selected Indian-American Cultural Expressions”, in Marking Time and Territories: Genders in the Globalization of South and Southeast Asia, eds. Esha Niyogi De & Sonita Sarkar. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 232-248.

"South Asian American Writers", An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature, Ed. King-Kok Cheung. Cambridge University Press, 1997, 192-218.

“Food and Belonging: At ‘Home’ in ‘Alien-Kitchens’”, Through the Kitchen Window: Women Explore the Intimate Meanings of Food and Cooking, ed. Arlene Voski Avakian. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997, 263-275. Reprinted by Berg (Oxford & NY), 2005.

"Post-colonial Women Writers and Feminisms", New National and Post-Colonial Literatures, ed. Bruce King. Oxford University Press, 1996, 230-244.

"Feminism and Antifeminism: From Civil Rights to Culture Wars” Co-authored with Smith & Ferguson, in Garner, Katrak et al. eds., Antifeminism in the Academy. New York: Routledge, 1996, 35-66.

"Afterword: Telling Stories and Transforming Postcolonial Society", to Ama Ata Aidoo's No Sweetness Here. New York: The Feminist Press, 1995, 135-160.

"Wole Soyinka", The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, Eds., Michael Groden & Martin Kreiswirth. Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994, 673-675. Second Edition, 2005, 865-868.

"Ismith Khan", Dictionary of Literary Biography 125 (African and Caribbean Writers), eds. R. Sander & B. Lindfors, 1993, 48-53.

"On Film: Indian and British Perspectives on Partition", From Commonwealth to Post-Colonial, ed. Anna Rutherford. Denmark: Dangaroo Press, 1992, 316-322.

"Indian Nationalism, Gandhian Satyagraha, and Representations of Female Sexuality", Nationalisms and Sexualities, eds. Andrew Parker et al. N.Y. & London: Routledge, 1991, 395-406.

"Colonialism, Imperialism, and Imagined Homes", The Columbia History of the American Novel, General Editor, Emory Elliott. N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1991, 649-678.

Black Writers Redefine the Struggle: A Tribute to James Baldwin, ed. Jules Chametzky. Introductions to Speakers. Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1989.


“Still Waters Run Deep: Deepa Mehta’s Water, and Sharada Ramanathan’s Sringaram: The Dance of Love”, in Muse India: the literary ejournal (, Issue 8 (July-August 2006, 5-10 (Special Feature: “In-dia-sporic Writings”).

Translation into Korean of my essay, “Decolonizing Culture: Towards a Theory for Postcolonial Women Writers”, in Postcolonial Feminism (Hyundai Minak Publishers), 2004.

Translation into Italian of my essay, “Decolonizing Culture: Towards a Theory for Postcolonial Women Writers”, in Litteratura e femminismi (Liguori Editore, 2000), 369-382.


“Wole Soyinka”, in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, eds. Henry Louis Gate, Jr., & Kwame Anthony Apppiah (Basic Civitas, 2000), 1767-1769.

“Eunice de Souza”, in Who’s Who in Contemporary Women’s Writing (Routledge, 2000).

"Postcolonial Literature", in The Encyclopedia of English Studies and Language Arts, Vol. II. Gen. Ed. Alan Purves. An NCTE Project. N.Y.: Scholastic Research, 1994, 929-933.


“Still Waters Run Deep: Deepa Mehta’s Water, and Sharada Ramanathan’s Sringaram: The Dance of Love”, in India Currents, 20:4 (July, 2006), 10, 12.

"New York City", Arc (Ottawa, Canada), 25. Special Issue on "Poetry of India in English", (Autumn 1990), 46.

"Memories of Exile", In Their Own Voice: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary Indian Women Poets, Ed. Arlene R.K. Zide. Penguin India, 1993, 100-101.
Fulbright Research Award to India, 2005-06; University of California,Humanities Reseach Institute's Resident Research Fellowship, 2002-03; The Bunting Fellowship, Harvard/Radcliffe College, 1988-89.
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