PhD student in the Literature program at Duke University
Pratistha Bhattarai, originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, is a first-year PhD student in the Literature program at Duke University. Her research lies at the intersection of black studies, postcolonial studies, and science and technology studies. She is interested in looking at how the speculative value form of finance capitalism has historically worked to reify the difference between persons and things – producing, to use Frantz Fanon’s term, a “species” division between valuable humans and disposable nonhumans. A related question that concerns her is of how we can critically engage the nonhuman without redeeming it as a site of positive value. In this vein, she is interested in examining the aesthetic strategies, especially those pertaining to form, employed by thinkers of the Black Atlantic that allude to a form of personhood predicated not on intrinsic value and life but rather on abjection and proximity to death, to things.