Professor Julie Mehta holds M.A. and PhD degrees in English Literature and South Asian Studies from the University of Toronto. Her PhD dissertation, “Unchaste Goddesses, Turbulent Waters: Representations of the Divine Feminine in Postcolonial South Asian Fiction,” establishes indomitable feminine power as voices of resistance against the patriarchy. Her Master’s thesis entitled “Being Gaijin and Being Female in the Sakoku Culture of Japan” explores the Japanese works by Meira Chand, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Pico Iyer.
Julie was born in Calcutta and educated at Irish convents—Loreto House and Loreto College—and then at Jadavpur University Calcutta, where she received her first Master’s degree in English Literature. She worked as a literary reviewer and features editor in Australia, Singapore, and Bangkok.
A specialist in Postcolonial and World Literatures, she conceptualized and taught the Chancellor Emerita Vivienne Poy-endowed course on Asian Literatures and Cultures in Asia for nearly a decade in the Canadian Studies Program, and in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, and received several prestigious fellowships.
Her translation of Tagore’s play Dak Ghar/Post Office was performed by Pleiades Theatre, Toronto, in 2010 to critical acclaim and earned her the title of “One of Sixteen most Influential South Asians in Canada.” She is the author of Dance of Life: The Mythology, History, and Politics of Cambodian Culture, and the bestselling biography of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (with Harish Mehta).
Her major publications are “Toronto’s Multicultured Tongues: Stories of South Asian Cuisines,” in Edible Histories, Cultural Politics: Towards a Canadian Food History, University of Toronto Press, 2012; “Hybrid Brown Gaijin is a ‘Distinguished Alien’ in Sakoku Japan” in Narrating Race: Asia, (Trans)Nationalism, Social Change, Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2011; “Ondaatje’s Impertinent Voices: Tracking Family Ties to Remember History,” in Australasia-Asia: Change, Conflict and Convergence Swan-Longmans, 2010; “Reconfiguring the Feminine: The Real, Reel, and Riel Life of Neang Seda (Sita) in the Khmer Ramayana,” in The International Ramayana Collection, National Heritage Board, Singapore, 2010; “Being Gaijin and Being Female in the Sakoku Culture of Japan: Cultural Exile in Meira Chand’s The Gossamer Fly,” in Writing Asia: The Literatures in Englishes, Volume 1: From the Inside, ingapore: Ethos Books, 2007; and “The Ramayana in Thai and Khmer Culture,” in Ramayana Revisited, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.