Professor lectures about home, new book

Professor of English Dutt-Ballerstadt reads from her book “The Post Colonial Citizen: The Intellectual Migrant” on Sept. 23 in the Nicholson Library. Joel Ray/Freelancer

An associate professor of English read from her new book, “The PostColonial Citizen: The Intellectual Migrant,” during a Sept. 23 lecture in the Nicholson Library.
“[This book] took me 10 years to write,” Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, associate professor of English and creative writing, said.
She explained the hard work that went into her work.
The lecture was intended to bring the audience to recognize that people all come from somewhere and to understand what it means to have a home — to have citizenship, she said.
“Writing a book is a very long journey,” Dutt-Ballerstadt said. “I always describe it as a very long pregnancy.”
She discussed her journey to America in the early ’90s. Once she arrived, she said she did not want to dwell in the past but instead made an effort to anticipate the future. She said she felt there was a force that wanted her to move out.
She said she felt transformed by the time she arrived in America. Her suitcase was so full of American designer clothes purchased for her by her aunt that she had to take out her heritage clothing, Dutt-Ballerstadt said. Her only link to home, she said, was her language, which she rarely got the opportunity to speak.
“One cannot forget the past; it’s what you do with it,” Dutt-Ballerstadt said.
Her first day experiencing the bitter cold of Minnesota shocked her so much that she wished to see her mother again, she said.
She is now considered a visitor in the country in which she was born. Her own citizenship from India was “canceled without prejudice” from America, she said. Each time she renews her passport, she gets further and further from her Indian roots and becomes closer to being an American. She said she does not really consider anywhere her home.
“My home is everywhere and nowhere,” Dutt-Ballerstadt said.
By the end of the lecture, she explained how she loves America and cannot see herself anywhere else.

Timothy Marl/Staff reporter
Timothy Marl can be reached at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.