transnational feminist theory and aesthetics; contemporary French, francophone and Indian literatures; feminist perspectives on mothering; and feminist pedagogy
Anu Aneja is Professor and Director of the Women and Gender Studies program at George Mason University. She has research interests in the areas of transnational feminist theory and aesthetics, in particular their inventive crossings across South Asia and the west. She has explored these in her monograph entitled Feminist Theory and the Aesthetics Within: A perspective from South Asia (2022). As an extension of this work, she is currently investigating the poetry and legacy of Mah Laqa Bai Chanda, a late eighteenth century courtesan from Hyderabad. Other areas of interest include contemporary French, francophone and Indian literatures, feminist perspectives on mothering, and feminist pedagogy. Aneja is the co-author of Embodying Motherhood: Perspectives from Contemporary India (2016, with Shubhangi Vaidya) and the editor of a comprehensive anthology, Women’s and Gender Studies in India: Crossings (2019) that maps the contemporary contours of the field. She has also edited a focus volume on Gender & Distance Education: Indian and International Contexts (2019), and has guest edited themed articles in this area for the Gender and Education journal. Her article on “Blending In: reconciling feminist pedagogy and distance education across cultures” was awarded the Indian Bank Sponsored Silver Medal in 2017. She has previously published a Hindustani translation of Hélène Cixous’ French play L’Indiade our l’Inde de leurs rêves. Her research articles have appeared in various peer reviewed journals and edited anthologies. Aneja has formerly held visiting research scholar positions at the Women's Studies Center, Beatrice B. Main Research Group, University of California, Berkeley and at the Center for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz.
She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Penn State University and a Bachelor’s in French from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Formerly, she taught in the School of Gender and Development Studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), where she served as Director from 2015 – 2018, and at Ohio Wesleyan University where she was the recipient of the Rebecca Brown Professor of Literature award. Her administrative experience includes chairing the Inter University Consortium, and the School of Continuing Education at IGNOU, and the Department of Humanities-Classics at Ohio Wesleyan University. As part of her commitment to affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity initiatives, she has chaired several related committees both in India and the US.
Aneja has taught Women and Gender Studies and interdisciplinary Humanities courses both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. At Mason, these include graduate seminars on Feminist Theories, on Transnational Issues of Gender and Race, and an undergraduate introductory level Core course on Global Representations of Women. At IGNOU in New Delhi, she co-coordinated the MA and Post Graduate Diploma Programs in Women and Gender Studies, and was in charge of the graduate Gender, Literature and Culture specialization. She received special mention for innovating best practices in open and distance education for outreach to marginalized and underprivileged students in remote areas.
Aneja currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Gender and Education journal.