Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Goutam Piduri

2023–24 Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate in English
Project “Owning Renunciation: Studies in the Authority of Non-possession”
Last updated June 21, 2023


Goutam Piduri is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of English and holds a B.A. in English from Ashoka University. He is interested in nonacquisitive forms of imperialist thought and style. His dissertation project focuses on the 17th century, inquiring into the mechanisms by which nonpossession — a cultivated indifference to material goods — is allied to early imperialist thought. To this end, he reads the work of English poets, East India Company ethnographers, and Puritan spiritual authorities to excavate a counter-intuitive relationship between nonpossession and empire. The project thus complicates the ascetics claim that the abandonment of “material” ownership in favor of “spiritual” renunciation is a path of nonviolence or resistance to imperialism. He has attended seminars convened by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He translates from Telugu, and his translations have appeared in Asymptote and Denver Quarterly.