Faculty Biographies

Gurleen Grewal

Gurleen Grewal

Associate Professor


Office: CPR 301-H
Phone: 813-974-7964
Email: grewal@usf.edu



  • PhD, University of California, Davis


Toni Morrison/African American Literature; Postcolonial Literature; South Asian Literature, American Multi-Ethnic Literatures; Contemporary Women Writers; Memoir; Religious and Philosophical Themes in Literature; Contemplative Pedagogy


Dr. Gurleen Grewal has taught and written extensively about contemporary American and global postcolonial women writers who illumine the experience of nondominant peoples/cultures shaped by the historic formations of global capital. An NEH Summer Institute on Sustainability and the Humanities (at Arizona State University, Flagstaff) in 2011 deepened her understanding of the environmental humanities. As founding director of the Center for India Studies (2009-2013) Dr Grewal co-organized the USF World Conference on Eastern and Indigenous Perspectives on Sustainability and Conflict Resolution (2011). She is interested in the epistemic roots of our crisis of alienation from cosmic life. She's inspired by the work of the Fetzer Institute, whose aim she shares: “to help us live in sacred relationship with ourselves, each other, and the natural world.”

Broadly speaking, Dr. Grewal is interested in globality, transnational and multilingual, and the aesthetic forms and perspectives that articulate difference to affirm a unitive and liberating vision for humanity. In her just completed memoir, The Oxbow and the River, she writes about subject formation in postcolonial education and the attendant thematics of exile, home and belonging, ultimately questioning the template of the isolate self.

Dr. Grewal is now at work on a collection of essays articulating the ‘religious’ imagination in contemporary women writers.


Dr. Grewal has received two university-wide Teaching Awards and a Toni Morrison Society book award for Circles of Sorrow/Lines of Struggle: The Novels of Toni Morrison (LSU Press) in 2000, and two creative writing residency awards (at Hedgebrook, Whidbey Island, WA; Sanskriti Kendra, New Delhi). She received the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Contemplative Practice Fellowship, supporting teaching that ameliorated suffering and promoted peace and social justice.


At the graduate level, Dr. Grewal has taught seminars on Toni Morrison, Postcolonial Studies, Environmental Literature, Critical Theory, and Women’s Spiritual Memoirs. Since coming to the English Dept. in 2009, she has directed 7 doctoral dissertations (co-directing 4) and served as committee member on 20 doctoral theses. The dissertation topics include Toni Morrison, Indian (South Asian) Literature, postcolonial literature, Anthropocene fiction, spirituality, and contemplative pedagogy.

She has served as a committee member on 10 Master’s theses in Women’s Studies (where she taught for 15 years) and English and directed 3 M.A. theses in Women’s Studies and English.


  • "Arcs of Transcendence: The Religious Imagination of Toni Morrison." Handbook on Toni Morrison. Bloomsbury Press. Eds. Co-eds. Linda Wagner-Martin and Kelly Reames. Bloomsbury Press. Forthcoming January 2023. 
  • “Gurus of Sound.” Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts. Forthcoming November 2022. [from “The Oxbow and the River” Mss.]
  • “On Teaching Arundhati Roy: Gender, Caste and Capital in The God of Small Things. MLA Approaches to Teaching Anglophone South Asian Women Writers. Eds. Deepika Bahri and Filippo Menozzi. N.Y.: MLA. 2021. 52-60. 
  • “Joy Kogawa.” Asian American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. Keith Lawrence. ABC-Clio/Greenwood Press, 2021. 184-188.
  • “Contemplative Poetics and Pedagogy for Sustainability." Teaching Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences. Eds. Wendy Petersen Boring and William Forbes. Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2013. 162-172.
  • “The Working Through of the Disconsolate: Transformative Spirituality in Toni Morrison’s Paradise” in Toni Morrison: Paradise, Love, Mercy. Ed. Lucille P. Fultz. Continuum Press, 2012. 40-54.
  • “Beholding ‘A Great Tree in Leaf’: Eros, Nature and the Visionary in Their Eyes Were Watching God.” ‘The Inside Light’: Collected Essays on Zora Neale Hurston. Ed. Deborah Plant. N.Y.: Praeger, 2010. 103-112.