What is culture shock?

culture shock is Pranay Somayajula’s blog/newsletter/wannabe magazine. I’m an Indian-American writer, researcher, and cultural critic, originally from Minnesota and living in Washington, D.C. Here, you can find my thoughts, observations, and commentary on the world we live in, all written through a radically anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and abolitionist critical lens.

I originally started culture shock as no more mangoes, a blog which focused on migration, diaspora, and cultural identity and sought to move beyond the overplayed tropes and surface-level analyses that plague so much contemporary diasporic writing. Since then, however, I’ve expanded the scope of the blog to focus on cultural criticism and commentary more generally, and here you can expect to find essays about everything from parasociality on social media to neocolonialism in the 21st century.

A bit about me—I’m the child of two Indian immigrants to the United States, and I was born and raised in a suburb of Saint Paul, Minnesota. I moved to Washington, D.C. in 2018 to pursue undergraduate studies at the George Washington University, where (like absolutely everyone else) I double-majored in political science and international affairs, with a minor in peace studies and a concentration in conflict resolution. In September 2022 I moved to London to get my master’s degree in human rights from the London School of Economics, and I recently moved back to D.C. to work as Director of Research and Advocacy Campaigns at Hindus for Human Rights.1

When I’m not drowning in coursework and dissertation research, you can find me working on my debut novel, devouring the works of Jhumpa Lahiri and Joan Didion, or butchering Bob Dylan songs on the guitar.

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all views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of HfHR!

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thoughts, observations, and commentary about pretty much everything under the sun. hopefully one day i'll figure out what exactly "the zeitgeist" is

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telling myself stories in order to live