Humanities & Social Sciences

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Citation for Professor Gurumurthy Neelakantan

Professor Gurumurthy Neelakantan was born on 12 May 1960 at Therazendur in Tamilnadu. He was educated at Loyola College and Madras Christian College, Chennai. He earned PhD in English from IIT Kanpur in 1989. He returned to IIT Kanpur as an Assistant Professor in 1996 after having served a few years at the North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology, Itanagar and Delhi College of Engineering. He was elevated to the post of Professor in 2003 and was awarded the Rahul and Namita Chair Professorship in 2012.

Firmly believing in the power of the classics to transform human lives, Professor Neelakantan probes a range of concerns, debates and issues in his teaching and writing. Given his broad interest in the arts and human sciences, his pedagogical approach situates literature in a larger matrix of discourses that variously meditate on culture and civilization. Besides literature, he also teaches courses on English language and professional communication. Ever fond of the Socratic Method, he begins by raising questions which then evolves into an interactive discussion leading to well-considered positions. Besides being accessible and humorous, he takes his students’ queries seriously. No wonder, many students assert that his courses have made a significant difference to their lives. His graduate students, well-trained under his nurturing and rigorous care, have gone on to become productive scholars.

Professor Neelakantan's research interests largely lie in American Literature. He has published extensively on the fiction of Saul Bellow and Philip Roth in major international journals. His research seeks to study how religion and sexuality inform the crisis-ridden contemporary era in a cross-cultural perspective. He serves as a consulting editor to Philip Roth Studies, and is also an elected member of the International Association of University Professors of English, Switzerland.

In his seventeen-year long career at IIT Kanpur, Professor Neelakantan has made significant contributions to teaching, research and service. He has occupied several leadership positions at the Institute including Head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Chairman of Senate Scholarship and Prizes Committee, Editor of Directions, and Wardenship, to name only a few.

It is with pride and pleasure that IIT Kanpur confers the Distinguished Teacher Award for the year 2013 on Professor Gurumurthy Neelakantan.