Zahid R. Chaudhary

Associate Professor
Office Phone
18 McCosh Hall
Office Hours

On Leave, AY23-24


Ph.D. Cornell University.  Zahid R. Chaudhary specializes in postcolonial studies, visual culture, and critical theory. His first book, Afterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century India, provides a historical and philosophical account of early photography in India, analyzing how aesthetic experiments in colonial photographic practice shed light on the changing nature of perception and notions of truth, memory, and embodiment. He is currently at work on two books: Unruly Truth: Libidinal Politics and Crises of Authority analyzes contemporary shifts in the collective de-prioritizing of evidence and truth that attends a simultaneously increasing cultural emphasis on a politics of exposure; Impunity: Notes on a Global Tendency analyzes juridical, economic, political, and aesthetic aspects of the practices of impunity from the Cold War to the present, from postcolonial states to the United States. The book considers documentary film, contemporary art, development projects, and architecture. He has also published articles in differences, Boundary 2, October, Social Text, Cultural Critique, South Asia, and Camera Obscura.  Some of his course titles include Difficult Art, Bollywood Cinema, Revolution (grad), Psychoanalysis and Postcolonialism (grad),  Mimesis (grad) Introduction to Theory, Reading Literature: Fiction, Urban Fictions, Magical Realism, and Violence and the Modern.

Selected Publications

“Paranoid Publics” History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History. 12.1 (April 2022), 103-126. DOI 10.1215/21599785-9547248.

“The Politics of Exposure: Truth After Post-Facts” ELH (87:2) Summer 2020.

“Sacrificial Citizenship: On Muslims and Assimilation in a Neoliberal Frame.” Social Text (Issue 140; August 2019).

 “Desert Blooms” October (Issue 168; Spring 2019).

“Impunity,” for Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon. 2018.  

 “This Time with Feeling: Impunity and the Play of Fantasy in The Act of Killing.” Boundary 2. 45.4 (November 2018).

"Itinerant Photography: Medium and Translation in the work of Imran Channa” in Photography in India: From Archives to Contemporary Practice, edited by Aileen Bradley & Chinar Shah. London: Bloombsbury, 2018.

“On Finitude: Life and Death Under Neoliberalism” in Fotofest 2018 Biennial: India, Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art. Exhibition Catalogue. New York: Prestel, 2018.

Afterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century India (University of Minnesota Press, 2012).

“Subjects in Difference: Walter Benjamin, Frantz Fanon, and Postcolonial Theory” differences 23:1 (2012) 151-183.
 "The Labour of Mimesis." Social Semiotics 20:4 (Sept 2010) 357-365.
"Humanity Adrift: Race, Materiality, and Allegory in Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men" Camera Obscura 2009: 24(3 72):73-109.

"Phantasmagoric Aesthetics: Colonial Violence and the Management of Perception." Cultural Critique 59 (Winter 2005), pp.63-119.

"Controlling the Ganymedes: The Colonial Gaze in J.R. Ackerley's Hindoo Holiday." South Asia, Vol. XXIV, Special Issue (2001), pp.47-57.  [Reprinted in Sexual Sites, Seminal Attitudes: Sexual Masculinities and Culture in South Asia. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2004.]

Review of The Making of English Photography by Steve Edwards In Journal of British Studies 48 (April 2009): 538-539.

Review of Indian Renaissance British Romantic Art and the Prospect of India by Hermione de Almeida and George H. Gilpin In CLIO: A Journal of Literature, Philosophy, and the Philosophy of History, 37:2 (Spring 2008), p.293-297.

Review of Marian Aguiar, Tracking Modernity: India's Railway and the Culture of Mobility. interventions 15:1 (2013) 164-166.

Editor’s Introduction. “Inhabitations: A Feminist Formations Dossier on Robyn Wiegman’s Object Lessons.” Feminist Formations. 25:3 (Winter 2013) 129-135.