Amrita Dhar grew up in Calcutta, and studied at the universities of Jadavpur (India), Cambridge (UK), and Michigan (USA). Her research and teaching interests are in early modern literature, disability studies, the environmental humanities, and the digital humanities. She is also a climber and mountaineer, and works and writes on world mountaineering literatures.
Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Milton Studies, Shakespeare Bulletin, postmedieval, The Himalayan Journal, and various edited collections. This work has been supported by the University of Michigan‘s Rackham Graduate School and Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the SSHRC Early Modern Conversions Project.
In 2019, she was the recipient of the Milton Society of America's Albert C. Labriola Award.
Her first monograph–whose manuscript is nearing completion–is entitled Milton’s Blind Language and studies the workings of blindness towards the making of John Milton’s poetic language in his years of approaching and complete loss of sight. This work examines Milton’s psalm translations in his years of going blind, his later sonnets, and his last great poetic works, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes.
She is planning two other book-length projects. The first of these, Regarding Sight and Blindness in Early Modern English Literature, traces the attitudes towards sight and blindness in the literature of the early modern period, with special attention to heretofore unexamined texts. Primary sources for this study include canonical and marginal plays, remarkable and unremarkable poetry, broadside ballads, manuscript accounts of visual affliction and proposed remedies, printed and manuscript medicinal and culinary recipes, and religious and social tracts and sermons.
The second, A Social History of Indian Mountaineering, is an accessible account of Indian mountaineering, particularly Himalayan mountaineering, from its colonial “Golden Age” in the mid-twentieth century to the emerging models of the twenty-first. The social and historical investment of this work is in claiming space for mountaineers of the “non-traditional” kind—such as individuals at the intersections of less privileged genders, castes, social standing, financial reach, geography, age, and physical ability—who have historically enlarged the scope of the sport but are still the least credited for this work.
In autumn 2019, she spoke to The Alpinist Podcast (http://www.alpinist.com/p/podcast) on some of these questions concerning mountaineering histories and archives.
As a teacher, she is deeply invested in her students’ intellectual growth and general well-being. In 2019, she was nominated for a campus-wide Research Mentoring Award.
- PhD, English Language and Literature, University of Michigan, USA
- MPhil, Renaissance English Literature, University of Cambridge, UK
- MA, English Literature Jadavpur, University, India
- BA, English Literature, Jadavpur University
Areas of Expertise
- Early Modern English Literature
- Disability Studies
- Environmental Humanities
- World Mountaineering Literatures