How Much is Too Much? The price of pushing kids to attain elite status.

How Much is Too Much? The price of pushing kids to attain elite status.

  I am an English professor. That means that after thirteen years of elementary and high school, four years of university, and seven more years of graduate education, I decided that I hadn’t yet had enough of school. Over the years, my position at the table has...
Anxieties About English

Anxieties About English

My mother was an English major. After earning her B.A. from a small liberal arts college in upstate New York, she started working on a Ph.D., also in English. Raised in the elite clubrooms and halls of Anglophone India, schooled in the Western canon (“reading from...
On Writing the Acknowledgments

On Writing the Acknowledgments

This month, I finish my Ph.D dissertation (a dissertation that is really speaking only the first draft of an eventual book, and therefore not “finished” at all). Throughout this process, I’ve thought often about the acknowledgments I will write. Who will I thank, and...
Anatomy of a Mugging

Anatomy of a Mugging

On March 1st, when my daughter, Mrinalini, and I were coming home from school on a bright, late-winter afternoon, we were mugged. I use the word advisedly. Mugging is a term with a fraught and well-researched history. It occasioned one of the most well-known studies...

To My Uncle Shashi Tharoor on his 60th Birthday

I’m sorry I shut the window on your fingers, curved around the frame of the steel car door. It was an accident; I didn’t know how quickly the automatic glass would close. We were driving around Durham, and it was the first time I really had you to myself. You were at...