Prof Richa Nagar
Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
224 Church Street SE
Professor of the College
Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence
Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in Liberal Arts
Richa Nagar's intellectual, pedagogical and creative labor focuses on writing lives and struggles across the borders of languages, genres, disciplines and geographical locations. Her early work on everyday geographies of gendered and racialized community politics among four Asian communities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is regarded as significant interdisciplinary contribution. Her subsequent work has focused on building long-term relationships and situated solidaries with specific struggles around NGOization and around linking questions of intellectual disempowerment with sociopolitical marginalization and violence. Especially noteworthy in this area is her work with Sangtin Writers, which commenced in 2002 and whose critiques helped to constitute Sangtin Kisaan Mazdoor Sangathan, a movement of several thousand farmers and laborers in Sitapur District of Uttar Pradesh, India. In commuting and communicating across fields, languages, and worlds, Richa simultaneously blends academic, creative, and activist writing and community theatre in English, Hindi, and Awadhi. She examines how, why, and to what extent coauthorship and collaboration can become methods by which to trouble the dominant routes of circulation by which knowledges are produced, deployed, and disseminated; and how such methods can help us develop new insights about questions of solidarity, ethics, and responsibility in knowledge making while complicating what counts as “path-breaking” work in the academy. Since 2007, she has been cobuilding a multi-sited community theatre project that brings together amateurs and professional actors to reflect on social issues through literary texts and through their own stories (http://jananatyachintan.blogspot.com/). This work explores how the production of personal narratives, theatre, and political agitation can be interwoven to address questions of translation, (im)mobility, intimacy, and embodied politics in transborder feminist engagements and alliance work. Richa's book, 'Muddying the Waters: Co-authoring Feminisms Across Scholarship and Activism' (2014), draws on years of collaborative building of visions and worlds, chiefly with Sangtin Writers, with whom she coauthored 'Sangtin Yatra: Saat Zindgiyon Mein Lipta Nari Vimarsh' (2004) and 'Ek Aur Neemsaar: Sangtin Atmamanthan Aur Andolan' (2012) in Hindi, and 'Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism Through Seven Lives in India' (2006) in English. She also co-authored (with Eric Sheppard, Philip Porter and David Faust) 'A World of Difference: Encountering and Contesting Development' (2009) and she co-edited (with Amanda Swarr) 'Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis' (2010).