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Photo of Agnani, Sunil

Sunil Agnani, PhD

Associate Professor

History (modern Europe, intellectual)


Building & Room:

2000 UH


601 S Morgan St.

Office Phone:

(312) 413-2239


Sunil Agnani holds a joint appointment as an Associate Professor with the Department of English and the Department of History, and teaches courses on the European Enlightenment, eighteenth-century British and French literature and thought, and on the literature of empire and decolonization. His book, Hating Empire Properly: The Two Indies and the Limits of Enlightenment Anticolonialism (New York: Fordham University Press/Kindle version, 2013) was awarded the Harry Levin Prize for Best First Book by the American Comparative Literature Association in 2014, and reads the literature of the Enlightenment to debates in postcolonial thought.

A South Asia edition was co-published in 2016 by Permanent Black Press, New Delhi, in the “Hedgehog & Fox” series.

Recent fellowships include the Rice University Humanities Research Center (2014-2015), and Faculty Fellowship at the Institute for the Humanities at UIC (2016-2017).

Selected Publications

“Edmund Burke and Hannah Arendt: Decolonization, Resentment, and the Social Question.” Peer-reviewed, 14K words. boundary 2 49:4 (Nov 2022): 33-65.

Comment ne pas lire les Lumières : John Morley et la réception victorienne de l’Histoire des deux Indes.” Diderot et la Politique, aujourd’hui, Paris: Société Diderot, 2019.

“The Reception of Edmund Burke’s Imperial Ideas Relating to India, or Burke, the Brahmin and the Hot-House.” London: Bloomsbury Press/Continuum, 2017.

“Colonial Ressentiment, Enlightenment Thought, and the Impasses of Decolonization.” Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, Vol 56 (Autumn 2016).

“India and Haiti as Colonial Spaces of the Enlightenment” in L’Inde des Lumières; Entre l’orientalisme et les sciences sociales, Purushartha 31, École des Hautes Études Press, Paris: 2013.

“Entre la France et l’Inde en 1790 : Edmund Burke et les révolutions en Europe et en Asie” (Translation by Ann Sommereux). Contribution to Rêver d’Orient, connaître l’Orient : Visions de l’Orient dans l’art et la littérature britanniques, Isabelle Gadoin and Marie-Élise Palmier-Chatelain (Eds.). Lyons: ENS ÉDITIONS / École normale supérieure, 2008: 285-304.

“Jacobinism in India, Indianism in English Parliament: Fearing the Enlightenment with Edmund Burke.” Peer-reviewed. Cultural Critique (Issue 68), Winter 2008: 131-162.

“Doux Commerce, Douce Colonisation: Diderot and the Two Indies of the French Enlightenment.” Contribution to The Anthropology of the Enlightenment, ed. by Larry Wolff & Marco Cipoloni. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007: 65-84.

“Editor’s Column: The End of Postcolonial Theory? A Roundtable with Sunil Agnani, Fernando Coronil, Gaurav Desai, Mamadou Diouf, Simon Gikandi, Susie Tharu, and Jennifer Wenzel.” Ed. by Patricia Yaeger, Publications of the Modern Language Association / PMLA 122 (2007): 633-51.

“William Kentridge: Memories of Europe in the Colony.” ArtIndia, Vol. X, issue iii, July/August 2005: 22-25.

Review Articles:

“For the Love of Lost Sovereignty: Egypt & Postcolonial Thought.”. Cultural Critique (Issue 89), Winter 2015: 211-221.

“At the Gates of Realism. Srinivas Aravamudan’s Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel.” Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, Vol. 1, Issue 3 (Fall 2014): 1-5.

“On the Purported Death of Paris: Pascale Casanova’s The World Republic of Letters.” Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 9, Issue 3, September 2006: 329-335.

“Teaching in Dark Times: A Review of After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City.” Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 6, Issue 1, Winter 2003: 123-129.

Research Currently in Progress