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Faculty Profile

Sheela Jane Menon

Assistant Professor of English (2016)

Contact Information

East College Room 414


Sheela Jane’s research centers on questions of race and identity in Malaysian literature and culture, and is informed by her own upbringing in Malaysia, Singapore, and Honolulu. Her current book project, “Malaysian Multiculturalism: Reading Race in Contemporary Literature and Culture,” maps the contradictions of state multiculturalism through integrated readings of Indigenous (Orang Asal) activism alongside Malaysian literature, film, theatre, and political rhetoric. In the classroom, she teaches Postcolonial, Asian American, and World Literature, focusing in particular on how texts are shaped by histories of colonization, decolonization, and migration. Her work has been published in ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, The Conversation, and The Malaysian Insider.


  • B.A., The University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, 2008
  • M.A., The University of Texas at Austin, 2013
  • Ph.D., 2016,

2019-2020 Academic Year

Fall 2019

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

ENGL 331 Science Fiction
How have writers imagined alternative pasts and futures? More specifically, how have writers from around the world imagined these alternatives through science fiction? This course examines the genre of science fiction, focusing on work by a diverse range of authors, which may include Nnedi Okorafor, Robert Heinlein, Robert Sullivan, Zenna Henderson, Priya Sharma, Nick Harkaway, Gerald Vizenor, Dan Simmons, Sofia Samatar, Pauline Hopkins, Nalo Hopkinson, H. P. Lovecraft, and Chang Rae-Lee. We will consider how science fiction has developed as a genre and a writing community, and how these writers have reinforced, challenged, or reframed its evolving norms. Students will engage a range of scholarship on speculative fiction, as well as theories drawn from Genre, Postcolonial, Native American, Critical Race, and Gender and Sexuality Studies, as well as History of the Book. In using these theories as lenses through which to read science fiction, we will analyze how the genre reimagines systems of power tied to race, gender, class, sexuality, technology, business enterprise, and political organization. Given this focus, this course requires especially thoughtful engagement with diverse and difficult points of view. Our classroom will be a space in which you should feel challenged to reexamine your own thinking, while also helping to shape a vibrant and respectful dialogue.