Dhingra, Lavina

Lavina Dhingra

Professor of English



Pettengill Hall, Room 202

Asian Studies

Pettengill Hall, Room 202



Lavina Dhingra is an artist, poet, and scholar who has created over a dozen new courses at Bates including The Creative Spirit: Self and Nature, Worldly Women as Artists: Transnational Women Writers, Image and Sound: Reading and Writing Poetry, Modern Short Stories, Naming Jhumpa Lahiri: Canons and Controversies, Asian American Women Writers, Filmmakers, and Critics, Passages to and from India, and others. In addition, she also teaches Feminist Literary Criticism, Modern British literature. Two of the short term units she created–For the Love of Dogs,  and Socio-cultural Approaches to Children’s Literature–incorporate service-learning. From 2006-09, she was appointed Faculty Associate Dean of Admissions and served as a liaison between the Bates Trustees, President, Faculty, and the Admissions office.

Professor Dhingra is the contributing co-editor of the first scholarly book on the Pulitzer prize winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri, Naming Jhumpa Lahiri: Canons and Controversies (2012). She also co-edited the multidisciplinary essay collection A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America (1998) with Rajini Srikanth. This controversial book, which challenged the existing paradigms of the field of Asian American Studies, was nominated for the Best Book Award in Cultural Studies by the Association for Asian American Studies, and led to invited lectures at varied institutions including Harvard, Brown, Colby, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Hawai’i, Visva-bharati (India), among others as well as international conferences in France, Spain, Netherlands, and Trinidad. She has published essays in journals including Meridians; Amerasia Journal; LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory; Journal of Asian American Studies; South Asian Review; Hitting Critical Mass; and several collections including South Asian Novelists in English: An A to Z Guide (2002), Postcolonial Theory and the US: Race, Ethnicity, and Literature (2000), Teaching What You’re Not: Identity Politics in Higher Education (1996), Multiculturalism and Representation (1996).

Dr. Dhingra has been elected to national offices within the Modern Language Association (MLA), and has co-authored an MLA policy statement on “Guidelines of Good Practices” for the Recruitment, Retention, and Evaluation, of Junior Faculty of Color (published in Profession 2002). She has been elected Chair of the MLA Division on Asian American Literature (2002); Co-Chair of the MLA’s Committee on Literatures of People of Color in the US and Canada (2001-02); representative for “Women in the Profession” at the MLA’s Delegate Assembly (2000-03); and first female President of the South Asian Literary Association (2004), and allied organization of the MLA. She has also served on the Editorial Boards of peer-reviewed journals including MELUS, Journal of Asian American Studies, and South Asian Review.