CV of Rejections

Sritama Chatterjee
2 min readMay 8, 2022

I was working on my academic CV two weeks ago and realized that perhaps I should have a CV of rejection too. I came across this concept a few years ago.

The CV of rejections reminds me that I have come a long way. There were a few things that I would have loved if it had worked out. It reminds me that they are not necessarily my failures and often end up motivating me to be persistent. At the same time, sharing one’s rejections is an act of vulnerability. I hope that readers would understand that and allow me the space to be myself. Some of these rejections have made me cry. I have been enraged and ranted for days. While others were easier to accept because I realized that I was not the best fit. It has been a mix of emotions and I have tried my best to navigate through every rejection. It is a journey. I will update this CV annually.


April 2022 Accepted and then rejected from an Ocean Studies Conference (More information forthcoming. This is not okay)

MLA 2021 Rejection from a panel on “Queer Ecologies” (I ended up organizing my own panel at MLA 2021 :D)

2015 Rejection from a Conference on “Gender and Sports” (I will write about that idea someday. Hint: Swimming memoirs of women)

2015 Did not hear back from a conference on “Fractious Modernities). I ended up volunteering for the conference)

Publication Pitches

2020 Abstract for an edited volume on Religion and South Asia ( Was way out of my area. Submitted the abstract because the editor invited me and sent me a few follow-up messages. No hard feelings. It is not my area and taught me that I need to be saying more No-s)


2018 PhD at New York University ( One of the best Postcolonial studies programs in my opinion. Would have been difficult to sustain myself in NYC though )


2021 CPR Urban Studies Fellowship (It hurt initially. But I received a kind rejection email. )

2020 Bitch Media Public Writing Fellowship ( It was only after the rejection that I realized what I should have done differently. There were 2600 applicants)

2020 Leonardo Arts Fellowship (Would love to reapply for this)

Graduate Student Assistantships

2021 Book editor for Journal of Asian Studies ( I have no doubt that the best candidate was chosen for this post but hey! I was good too. In retrospect, I ended up teaching two classes on Feminist studies and built a solid portfolio in feminist studies.)

Prizes not won

2022 Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement ( Grateful to a generous colleague for nominating me. Did not end up getting it.)

2020 Graduate essay prize in Gender Studies ( My essay for this prize was conceptually solid. It was a complex disciplinary argument. There’s always a next time)