Speaker : Prof. Richa Nagar, Professor of College of Liberal Arts, Chair of Russel and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair of Excellence, Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Title : "Academic Knowledge and People's Struggles"
Abstract: Traditional academic research—with its narrow disciplinary specialization and its exclusive languages—is often described as akin to living in an ivory tower, removed from and immune to the reality of lived experience. Professor Richa Nagar's work has long challenged such compartmentalization of knowledges by opening her work up to the world and by grounding her academic research in the political struggles and experiences of activist and artistic communities. With the help of these partners, she has evolved a complex language and research style that makes room for poems, diaries, songs, plays and stories alongside formal academic writing. In this bilingual lecture in English and Hindi, Professor Nagar will share insights from her academic life and from her trilogy, Playing with Fire (2006), Muddying the Waters (2014), and Hungry Translations (2019), which draws chiefly on her work with four communities—the South Asian communities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; the Sangtin movement of small farmers and manual labourers in rural North India; the Parakh theatre group in Mumbai; and her undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota.
About the speaker: Prof. Richa Nagar’s transgenre and multilingual scholarship, creative writing, and cultural work in English, Hindi, and Awadhi blur the borders of academia, arts, and activism to build alliances with people's struggles and to engage questions of ethics, responsibility, and justice through knowledge making. She is Professor of the College in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, USA, where she currently holds a Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence and a Beverly and Richard Fink Professorship in Liberal Arts. Prof. Richa has worked closely with the Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan in Uttar Pradesh, and she has co-built a multi-sited community theatre project called Parakh. She is a founding co-editor of the online, open-access, open-genre journal, AGITATE! Unsettling Knowledges. Her books in English and Hindi includes eight monographs and edited volumes, and dozens of articles, essays, stories, poems, and plays. The books in English include Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism through Seven Lives in India (2006), A World of Difference: Encountering and Contesting Development, 2nd edition (2009), Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis (2010), Muddying the Waters: Coauthoring Feminisms across Scholarship and Activism (2014), and Hungry Translations: Relearning the World Through Radical Vulnerability (2019).