Director, Franklin Humanities Institute
Ranjana Khanna, Professor of English, Literature, and Women’s Studies at Duke University, was appointed Director of the John Hope Franklin Institute in 2018. Khanna is a literary critic and theorist recognized for her interdisciplinary, feminist, and internationalist contributions to the fields of post-colonial studies, feminist theory, literature, and political philosophy. She is best known for her work on melancholia and psychoanalysis, but has also published extensively on questions of postcolonial agency, film, Algeria, area studies, autobiography, Marxism, and visual and feminist theory. Khanna is the author of Algeria Cuts: Women and Representation, 1830-Present (2007) and Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism(2003). Her theorization of subjectivity and sovereignty, including her recent work on disposability, indignity, and asylum, engages with the work of diverse thinkers, including Derrida, Irigaray, Kant, Marx, Heidegger, Beauvoir, and Spivak. She served as the Margaret Taylor Smith Director of Women’s Studies from 2007–2015.