Sheshalatha Reddy is an Associate Professor at Howard University where she teaches colonial and postcolonial British and Anglophone literature. She has published articles in Victorian Literature and Culture and the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and edited an anthology entitled Mapping the Nation: An Anthology of Indian Poetry in English, 1870-1920 (2012).

Her recent book, British Empire and the Literature of Rebellion: Revolting Bodies, Laboring Subjects (2017) is a a comparative study of the discourses surrounding three roughly mid-nineteenth century rebellions: the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 in India, the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 in Jamaica, and the Fenian Rebellion of 1867 in Ireland. Following the industrial capitalist revolution in England, British imperial capitalism sought to expand its laboring force by attempting to transfigure the oppressed colonized worker into a laboring subject (one whose identity would be created and limited by labor) through the deployment of biopolitics, the disciplinary techniques of states and corporations to manage and regulate populations. Revolting Bodies, Laboring Subjects argues that the supposedly unsuccessful rebellions in India, Jamaica and Ireland can be read as flashpoints in imperial labor history: a moment when the colonized reacted against early attempts by British imperial capitalism to create a new pool of labor for capitalist accumulation in the colonies. These rebellions thus marked a shift in the driving impetus behind revolt against British authority as the colonized now began to resist a new regime of biopower that attempted not merely to exploit them as workers, but to transform them into urban and rural laboring subjects, sources of capitalist accumulation. This transformation would always remain incomplete since it was always resisted to varying degrees by the colonized.


University of Michigan, Ph.D

Cornell University, B.A.



British Empire and the Literature of Rebellion: Revolting Bodies, Laboring Subjects. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Mapping the Nation: An Anthology of Indian Poetry in English, 1870-1920. Edited anthology with a Critical Introduction. London: Anthem Press, 2012. (Reissued in paperback, 2013)

Articles, Book Chapters and Encyclopedia Entries

Entries on “Commonwealth Literature” and “Vikram Chandra.” In Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, edited by Sangeeta Ray, Henry Schwarz, et. al. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

“Henry Derozio and the Romance of Rebellion.” In Marginalized: Indian Poetry in English before and since Independence, edited by Smita Agarwal. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014, 27-42.

“Romesh Chunder Dutt’s Indian-English Epics and Epochs.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 47.2 (June 2012): 245-63.

“The Cosmopolitan Nationalism of Sarojini Naidu, Nightingale of India.” Victorian Literature and Culture 38.2 (September 2010): 571-89.

Entries on the “Colonial Press,” the “Times of India,” the “Indian Spectator,” and “Reis and Rayyet.” In A Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism, edited by Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor. London: The British Library, 2009.

Sheshalatha Reddy

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