Leila Neti
Professor, English
B.A., UCLA; M.A., Ph.D., UC Irvine
Appointed In
Swan Hall #234
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:40am-12:40pm

Leila Neti teaches in the fields of postcolonial Anglophone literature and theory, 19th and 20th century British literature, and literary and cultural criticism.

She specializes in Victorian literature, contemporary Anglophone literature, postcolonial theory, and law and literature. Her research focuses on how legal formations intersect with literary representations to produce notions of self and sovereignty, particularly with respect to race, gender, class, and sexuality. Her essays have appeared or are forthcoming in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Law and Literature, Law and Humanities, and in various edited collections.


Her book, Colonial Law in India and the Victorian Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 2021)   is situated at the intersection of law and literature, nineteenth-century studies, and postcolonialism. Colonial Law in India and the Victorian Imagination draws on original archival research to shed new light on Victorian literature.  Each chapter explores the relational ways in which the shared cultural logic of law and literature inflect colonial sociality.


Professor Neti teaches classes including “Race, Law, and Literature,” “The Animal,” “The Contemporary Anglophone Novel,” and “Bollywood Cinema and the 19th Century Novel,” as well as survey courses in Literary Methodologies and Modern British Literature.




“'If you were an animal you would have eaten me': Animal’s People and the History of Corporate Colonialism". In Law and Humanities (forthcoming, 2021)

Colonial Law in India and the Victorian Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 2021)  

"Martin Luther King Jr." and "Frederick Douglas" In the Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016

'The Love Laws': Section 377 and the Politics of Queerness in Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. In Law and Literature. London: Taylor Francis, 2016

“Imperial Inheritances: Lapses, Love, and Laws in the Colonial Machine.” In Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.  London: Taylor Francis, 2013.

“The Human Recycled: Insecurity in the Transnational Moment,” with Mrinalini Chakravorty (University of Virginia) in differences, ed. Nancy Armstrong and Warren Montag.  Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.

“Toward Collaborative Coalitions: From Internationalism to Interdisciplinarity” in Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice, eds. Joe Parker, Mary Romero, Ranu Samantrai. Syracuse: SUNY Press, 2010.

“Siting Speech: The Politics of Imagining the Other in Meera Syal’s Anita and Me” in British Asian Fiction: Framing the Contemporary, ed. Wai-Chew Sim and Neil Murphy.  London: Cambria Press, 2008.

“Blood and Dirt: The Politics of Women’s Protest in Armagh Prison Northern Ireland” in Violence and the Body, ed. Arturo Aldama.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003. 


Selected Conference Papers and Presentations:

"Oscar Wilde and the Secret Language of the Law." Oscar Wilde, Sexuality, and the State. Clark Library. May 2020. Invited Lecture. (Cancelled due to Covid-19).

“Life at the Margins of the Human.” Literature and International Law.  London School of Economics. July 2019.

“Indigenous Engagements with Anthropology.” Modern Language Association.  Chicago, Illinois.  January, 2019. Panel Chair.  

“Fictional History: Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone and the Kohinoor.”  University of Virginia. November 2018.  Invited lecture.

“Non-violence and the Thug.” American Comparative Literature Association.  University of California, Los Angeles.  April 2018.  

“The ‘Minute’ and the Penal Code: Macaulay’s Project of Biopolitics in Colonial India.” Law, Culture, and the Humanities Conference.  Stanford University. April 2017.

“Bottled Up: The Fluidity of Capital in Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.” American Comparative Literature Association.  New York, New York.  April 2014. Panel co-chair and presenter.

“Portrait as Landscape: Caribbean Labor and the Aesthetics of Representation.” American Comparative Literature Association.  Toronto, Canada.  April 2013.  Presented paper. 

Systems of Life Conference.  Occidental College and Huntington Library.  November 8-10, 2012. Panel chair.

“Sexual Politics in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.”  Tenure Talk.  October 12, 2012.  Occidental College.

“Love in a Bad Time: The Story of Lutchmee and Dilloo.”  American Comparative Literature Association.  Vancouver, Canada.   April 2011.  Panel co-chair and presenter.