Uma Satyavolu Rau

Uma Satyavolu Rau Lecturer II in the English Literature Department at the University of Pittsburgh She has taught at Pitt for over 12 years, and she enjoys most of all the range of courses she teaches, and the different kinds of students whom she encounters as a consequence.  Although her Ph. D dissertation was based  mainly on the relation between the Scottish Enlightenment idea of “Civilization” and its influence on imperialism in Nineteenth Century culture/literature,  she takes great pleasure in introducing students to texts ranging from the Gilgamesh to the graphic novel in courses at all levels of the undergraduate curriculum.  In courses ranging from Introduction to Literature; and Reading Poetry to Immigrant Literature;  from The Gothic Imagination; to Victorian Novel to the History and Politics of the English Language, she has tried to encourage students to learn to read closely, and see the texts in their conatext.  Her secret ambition is to teach her way through every undergraduate course on the English Department catalogue. Her current overmastering intellectual passion is Indo-European/Sanskrit poetics, and perhaps as a result, in literary and cultural tropes which cross over  linguistic/geographical boundaries. She is interested in the way languages/texts/ideas travel between and circulate among different peoples and countries, which naturally gives her a keen interest in translation in every form. She believes that every act of reading is a translation, and that every course is an opportunity for her to act as an interpreter or translator between texts and students. To introduce the students to the text and the idea, and to see students become immersed in it is her greatest pleasure as a teacher. She considers something like  “Thank you for making me read Middlemarch! It is now my favorite book ever” the highest compliment she could receive.