JAS round table on Amitav Ghosh, the great derangement: Climate change and the unthinkable

Julia Adeney Thomas*, Prasannan Parthasarathi, Rob Linrothe, Fa Ti Fan, Kenneth Pomeranz, Amitav Ghosh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Amitav Ghosh, perhaps Asia's most prominent living author, moves among many genres and across vast territories. His fiction - The Circle of Reason (1986), The Shadow Lines (1988), The Glass Place (2000), The Hungry Tide (2004), and The Ibis trilogy - takes us from Calcutta where he was born in 1956 to the Arabian Sea, Paris, London, and back again to the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and beyond. His nonfiction - In an Antique Land (1992), Dancing in Cambodia and at Large in Burma (1998), and Countdown (1999) - rests on a PhD in social anthropology from Oxford. He went to Alexandria, Egypt, for his dissertation research. His science fiction, The Calcutta Chromosome, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1997. His essays - published in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and The New York Times and collected in The Iman and the Indian (2002) - address major issues such as fundamentalism. Indeed, most of his work addresses big questions, exploring the nature of communal violence, the traces of love and longing across generations, manifold religious manifestations, and the systematic pain of colonial oppression. The deep and abiding theme of many works is anthropogenic environmental damage, now boldly and directly addressed in The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016). Married to accomplished fellow author Deborah Baker, whose work traces the Asian peregrinations of Allen Ginsberg, the literary milieu of Laura Riding, and the complexity of Islamic conversion, Ghosh has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Queens College, and Delhi University. He has won more prizes and honorary doctorates, and been a fellow at more famous institutions and a distinguished visitor in more far-flung places, than you can shake a stick at. He even has two homes: Brooklyn and Goa. In short, Ghosh's profile makes you wonder if there might not be more than one of him.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-955
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Asian Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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