Ayesha Ramachandran is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and an affiliate of the Program in Renaissance Studies. She received her PhD from Yale in Renaissance Studies, is a former Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and previously taught at Stony Brook University. A literary and cultural historian of early modern Europe, she pursues interdisciplinary research on literature, philosophy, cartography, visual culture and the history of science, focusing on the long histories of globalization and modernity.
Her prizewinning first book, The Worldmakers (University of Chicago Press, 2015) provides a cultural and intellectual history of “the world,” showing how it emerged as a cultural keyword in early modernity. With a recently awarded Mellon New Directions Fellowship (2016), she hopes to expand this work and pursue research on cross-cultural contacts between Europe and the Indo-Islamic world in the early modern period. As a preliminary step, she is currently co-organizing a series of workshops on Early Modern Techne that aim to initiate cross-cultural dialogues on material culture across the arts and sciences.
She has also published on Spenser, Lucretius, Tasso, Petrarch, Montaigne, on postcolonial drama and on the histories of religious fundamentalism and cosmopolitanism in various journals and volumes including Spenser Studies, MLN, Forum Italicum and Anglistik. Together with Melissa Sanchez, she is the co-editor of a special issue of Spenser Studies on “Spenser and The Human” which explores the poet’s complex relationship to the category of “the human,” by drawing on current discussions of humanism, posthumanism, and animal studies. Her new book manuscript in progress tentatively entitled, Lyric Thinking: Poetry, Selfhood, Modernity considers the role of lyric poetry in the shaping of the modern self.