Academic Career

Jesus & Mary College, Department of English 1972-1984. Taught undergraduate classes on Chaucer, Spenser, nineteenth century novels at Honours level. Conducted Remedial English classes for BA Pass students. Research project, along with Dr. Preeti Singh, on creating a blueprint for Women’s Studies education in India (1982), supported by JMC and AIACHE. Field visit to Sophia College, Bombay. The JMC report was presented to the Ministry of Social Welfare in 1983, as part of active discussions in progress with women’s groups. Voluntary work with college project to educate slum children from Bapu Dham, near JMC.

Reader, Dept. of English, University of Delhi, South Campus, 1984-1994. This brought the opportunity to teach post graduate classes in nineteenth century fiction, and American literature which was my specialization as my PhD thesis was on Henry James. My interest in women, literature and culture became more prominent when I could design my M Phil courses such as ‘Women’s Writing in Cross Cultural Perspectives’ and also focus on women- centric works in nineteenth century India, USA, Canada and Britain. My teaching dwelt on the emergence of feminist theory in the West but also sought to contrast that with the women’s movement in India. The colonial syllabus didn’t have room for Indian writers at that time (1980s and 1990s) but my research explored early feminism in India through works of Toru Dutt, Sarojini Naidu, Pandita Ramabai etc. My book The Law of the Threshold: Women Writers in Indian English (1995), resulting from a fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla, was reviewed as a path breaking study of Indian feminist perspectives in literature.

Professor, Dept. of English, University of Delhi 1994-2016 marked an intense period of teaching, research and publication which can be divided into three kinds of work. First, MA and M Phil courses in 19c literature, mainly, and guiding bright Ph.D scholars on less explored areas of literature such as African American writers, American short fiction, women writers in USA, UK, India in comparative and cross cultural perspectives. Second, are my publications, which focused almost entirely on women’s issues with several books edited and coedited as they were often based on projects or conferences. Examples are Feminist Spaces: Cultural Readings from India and Canada (1997), At Home in the World: A Window on Contemporary Indian Literature, (2002). Signifying the Self: Women and Literature (2004). Third was my administrative experience as Head, Department of English (2000-2003) during which MA syllabus change was effected, the department journal The Yearly Review was revived, Visiting professors invited and several conferences organized.

I concurrently held positions as Director, Women’s Studies and Development Centre (2000-2006) and Head, Department of English (2000-2003). Significantly, the National Policy on women was announced by Govt. of India in 2001, and my team and I could coordinate a national seminar of WS leaders from many parts of India at the IIAS, Shimla, the result of which, Women’s Studies in India: Contours of Change, co-edited with Sukrita Paul Kumar, was published in 2002.
WSDC was closely linked with 31 colleges of Delhi U, with this vibrant network making strides in awareness raising, short courses, projects, and advocacy. Project partners included GoI, UNIFEM and the British Council. Six WSDCs in north and west India partnered WSDC at Delhi U over several programmes. The cultural historian, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, through the Asia Project of the India International Centre, commissioned Sukrita Paul Kumar and me to coedit Speaking for Myself, a first ever anthology of Asian Women’s writing (2009, 2018). Getting increasingly engaged with feminist literary activism, with Sanjukta Dasgupta, I coedited The Indian Family in Transition: Reading Literary and Cultural Texts (2007).

University administration responsibilities increased in being Joint Director, South Campus (2006 – 2010) during which innovative academic leadership was expressed through the Institute of Life Long Learning that created online reading material for syllabus. The Applied Science departments, Humanities and Social Sciences interacted closely on programmes, library modernization, start-ups and digitization. Upgradation of teaching-learning methods was significant as also the environment consciousness by promoting bamboo structures and water conservation on campus.

Dean Academic Activities and Projects ( 2011-2016) , a post created by Delhi U’s then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dinesh Singh. As a member of the VC’s lead team, numerous projects were successfully implemented which changed the outlook for higher education in the country. Some of these: Four Year Undergraduate Programme, Innovation Projects, Gyanodaya educational train journey, Antardhwani Cultural Festival, Cluster Innovation Centre, Community Radio, Sound and Light show on the history of Delhi University. The VC’s team established the Foundation Day of Delhi U with awards to faculty and staff, organized the Convocation with streamlined procedures, revamped the publication division, examination branch and admin processes for projects.

Chairperson, Research Council, was supported by three Deans for subject clusters. The team supported faculty research from all disciplines, processed applications for patents, advised on PhD programmes, organized the Archives of Delhi University.

Dean of Colleges, a statutory position, calls for overseeing 91 colleges affiliated to the University of Delhi, spread across Delhi. North Campus and South Campus being the main units, several medical and technical colleges are also under its purview. During my tenure in the VC’s team, the upgradation and streamlining of undergraduate education was a priority.

Sahitya Akademi has been another significant part of my academic journey. I was nominated as Convener, English Advisory Board in 2014 up to Dec 2017, thereafter stayed as Member, English advisory Board from then to Dec 2022. English being one among 24 languages promoted and supported by the SA, it was a treasured opportunity to interact with writers and critics from all over India representing different languages and a wealth of literature. My role as Convener, English, was to design and implement conferences, seminars, workshops, authors’ meets, women’s voices, poetry readings, special lectures. It was also my role to participate in the process of the SA annual awards and to oversee publications approved by the English board.

Voluntary work has run parallel to my academic career and are interdependent since my interest lies in women’s empowerment. My closest affiliation has been with The Guild of Service, Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, and Venu Eye Institute, all in New Delhi, and the Women’s Interlink Foundation, Kolkata. My focus is on education and skill training to empower women through capacity building for economic independence. Social and emotional strength building for women is part of this process. Recent publication has been a coedited monograph with Meera Khanna on the ‘Status of Widows in South Asia’, a first study of this subject (December 2022) .

Ph.D. Univ. Of Rajasthan 1983/84 PG Univ. Of Rajasthan 1970 UG Univ. Of Rajasthan 1968 Any other qualification Harvard Univ, USA. Post-doctoral fellowship 1988

Career Profile Teaching: Jesus & Mary College, joined the University of Delhi Author and Editor: Malashri Lal is the author/ coeditor of 11 book publications, some of them with international publishers such as Penguin, Sage and Pearson-Longman. These books are regularly consulted by researchers in English and in Women’s Studies. Her journal articles are over 25 and range from scholarly presentations to occasional literary columns in newsmagazines. She is on the editorial board of prestigious journals such a the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, UK, and South Asian Review, USA, and Families, India. University administration  Dean Academic Activities & Projects, and Chairperson Research Council, overseeing major new initiatives in Delhi univ such as the Innovation projects, history project, academic congress, e-learning and others  Joint Director, Univ of Delhi-South Campus: Participation and contribution in decision-making at the highest academic and administrative levels at the South Campus. Responsibilities included co-ordinating academic programmes, overseeing campus development, and working towards social justice issues in higher education.  Director, Women’s Studies (Univ. Of Delhi) : Projects included the British Council’s Higher Education Link, a major study commissioned by the Dept of Women and Child, Govt. of India, and a conference on Girl Child funded by UNICEF. Malashri Lal’s own research yielded three books on women’s studies in relation to literature and culture  Head, Dept of English, spearheaded syllabus change in MA English after 27 years. Teaching: Jesus and Mary College, Lecturer in the DEpt of Englai

Retired on 28 July 2016, from the University of Delhi in the capacity of

  • Prof. Dept of English
  • Dean, Academic Activities and Projects
  • Dean of Colleges.
  • Chairperson, Research Council
  • Former, Director, Women’s Studies and Development Centre

Ended term on 31 Dec 2017: Convener, English Advisory Board Sahitya Akademi, Govt. of India. 35 Feroze Shah Road, New Delhi 110001 (This is an honorary position)