Headshot for Shayoni Mitra


On September 9, 2021, Shayoni Mitra, a senior lecturer in the department of theater, published an article in Inverse Journal, titledDecolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics.” In it, she analyzes how two popular TV series, Netflix’s The Chair and HBO’s The White Lotus, examine decolonization and the ways college students grapple with it. The Chair, a comedy-drama, follows the story of a newly appointed English department chair at the fictional Pembroke University while scrutinizing the decolonization of Ivy League syllabi. The White Lotus, a social satire, focuses on the lives of staff members and guests at a tropical resort in Hawaii while exploring the decolonization of land.

While Mitra praises these series for the accuracy with which they portray certain aspects of contemporary politics and academia, she criticizes the ways in which both shows, even in their attempts to highlight decolonization, continue to center whiteness in their examinations.