Stacey Balkan received her Ph.D. in English from The City University of New York, Graduate Center in 2016. Her research focuses on postcolonial ecologies and the politics of representation in the Global South; landscape aesthetics and counter-pastoralism; Anthropocene studies; radical materialism; and environmental justice. Stacey’s recent articles for The Global South and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment interrogate the legacy of combined and uneven development in Nigeria and India; and she is now at work on two book-length manuscripts–Rogues in the Postcolony: The New Picaresque and the Making of Modern India and Oil Fictions: World Literature and our Contemporary Petrosphere.
Critiquing development policies in colonial and postcolonial India, Rogues in the Postcolony performs a materialist refashioning of postcolonial discourse in the context of India. The project foregrounds the intersection(s) between landscape ideology, agricultural improvement, and historical trauma as each obtains in British-occupied Bengal, post- independence Mumbai and New Delhi, and late-capitalist Bhopal. From the transformation of commonly held land for agriculture to the emergent slum ecologies of India’s premier urban enclaves, modern improvement schemes have hinged on the removal of figures who have lately found expression in novels that replace the neoliberal fictions of the “new India” with the itinerant narratives of the postcolonial pícaro. These stories constitute what Balkan calls an “aesthetics of indigence,” which brings into sharp focus what picaresque enthusiasts have long characterized as la vida buscóna–translated loosely as the “low life” of the working-class protagonist.
Stacey is also co-editing a forthcoming collection entitled Oil Fictions: World literature and our Contemporary Petrosphere–an anthology situated within the emergent field of Petrocultures. Oil Fictions presents in attempt to grapple with the pervasiveness of this often-invisible biocultural agent through the cultivation of a robust petro-aesthetic practice. Additionally, her recent essays on the Anthropocene and its relationship to Empire have been featured in Global South Studies and Public Books; and her earlier research, born of several years teaching Contemporary Latin American Literature and Anglophone World Literature at Bergen Community College in New Jersey, has been published in The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Literature, World Literature, and Comparative Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature and Culture. At BCC, she also served as the co-director of the college’s Literary Arts Series and as a fellow for the Center for Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation.