- English professor at Ohio State University
- Encourages his students and colleagues to become political activists
Pranav Jani is an Assistant Professor in Ohio State University’s (OSU) English Department. He earned a Ph.D. in English from Brown University and was introduced to Marxist literature during his years as a graduate student in the early to late 1990s. Jani joined the International Socialist Organization in 1995.
According to OSU’s faculty guide, Jani’s “teaching interests include postcolonial/world literature, history, and politics, especially South Asia, Africa, Ireland, and the Arab world, and his research interests are in postcolonial theory: Marxism and postmodernism; imperialism, nationalism, and human rights; [and] class/gender/ethnic relations in the postcolonial world.” Jani has authored articles and papers on South Asian literature, postcolonial theory, and the U.S. media. He also serves as an editor for DesiLit magazine.
On September 28, 2001, Jani penned this panegyric to a particular subset of 9/11’s victims -- illegal aliens: “Lists of the dead and the missing from the World Trade Center tragedy are updated daily as New York City mourns the victims. But we may never know the full length of another list -- the undocumented workers killed on September 11. The Twin Towers had a massive ‘informal’ economy -- and an army of casual workers. Many of these casuals were undocumented immigrants, often supporting families elsewhere with their jobs. Window washers braved great heights to keep the buildings gleaming. Delivery workers transported food to the offices above. There were workers making pizzas, washing dishes, delivering flowers, staffing delis, cleaning rooms, operating elevators -- all kept the WTC running.”
In May 2006 Jani participated in the massive “immigrant rights” rallies demanding education, voting rights, social welfare benefits, and ultimately amnesty and citizenship for the 12 to 20 million illegal aliens living in the United States.
In December 2004 Jani was a presenter at a conference held in tribute to the late Columbia University professor Edward Said.
A passionate endorser and practitioner of what he calls “radical action” in the form of demonstrations and protests, Jani administers a weblog called Scarlet Guju. On May 18, 2007, he wrote that he had been “consistently disappointed by the [low] level of activist engagement in the academy.” “I have moved between a fusion of Marxism and activism over the last 10 years,” he said.