Prof Richa Nagar

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Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
425 FordH

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 ( 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).

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Geography, University of Minnnesota, Twin Cities, USA, 1995.
  • M.A.: Geography, University of Poona, Pune, India, 1989.
  • B.A.: English Literature, Geography, and Anthropology, Lucknow University, Lucknow, India, 1986.

Curriculum Vitae


  • politics of development
  • feminisms, praxis, and people's movements
  • Intersectionality, translations, and people's theater
  • Blending/ interrupting genres and languages in antidisciplinary research
Courses Taught
  • GLOS 3900 & 5993 - Stories, Bodies, Movements
  • CLA 1904 - Stories, Bodies, Border-crossings (Freshman Seminar offered as part of the Humanistic Commons)
  • GWSS 1904 - Stories and Struggles: Narratives and Social Change
  • WoSt 3003 - Gender and Global Politics
  • WoSt 3406 - Gender, Labor and Politics
  • WoSt 4103 & 5104 - Transnational Feminist Theories
  • WoSt 4107 - Research Methods
  • WoSt 5400 - Feminist Approaches to Ethnography
  • GWSS 8190 - Feminisms and Praxis
  • WoSt 8109 - Feminist Theory and Methods
  • GWSS 8240 & GEOG 8980 - Caste, Race, and Indigeneity
  • WoSt 8401 & Geog 8980 - Gender, Space and Resistance
  • DSSC 8010 - Doctoral Research Workshop (for ICGC scholars)
Research & Professional Activities


  • For more details, see


  • Theater Across Borders: This community project, chiefly in Hindi/ Urdu, explores the intersections among place, praxis and people's theatre and is shaped since 1986 by the efforts of many individuals and groups working in India and USA. See more at, 1986 - present
  • Kavita ke Bahaane: नयीपुरानीकवितायेँऔरकुलबुलाहटें, ज़बानोंऔरक़लमकेक़ायदोंऔरक़ैदोंसेजूझतेहुएऔरउनकीसरहदोंकेआर-पार / Beyond the rules and prisons of tongues and pens... See more at, 1986 - present
  • Creative Writing in English, Hindi, and Awadhi: Writing that blends languages and genres to speak with diverse audiences across multiple borders. See more at, 1999 - present
  • Hungry Translations: Relearning the World with Radical Vulnerability. Nagar, Richa, Champaign: University of Illinois Press, Author, 2019.
  • Muddying the Waters: Coauthoring Feminisms Through Schlolarship and Activism. Nagar, Richa, University of Illinois Press, Author, 2014. Link
  • Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism Through Seven Lives in India. Nagar, Richa, Sangtin Writers, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press and New Delhi: Zubaan., Co-Author, 2006. Link
  • Critical Transntional Feminist Praxis. Nagar, Richa, Amanda Swarr, SUNY Press, Co-Editor, 2010. Link
  • A World of Difference. Nagar, Richa, Eric Sheppard, Philip Porter, David Faust, Guilford Press, Co-Author, 2009. Link
  • [in Hindi] Ek Aur Neemsaar: Sangtin Atmamanthan aur Andolan [On the making of Sangtin Kisaan Mazdoor Sangathan]. Nagar, Richa, Richa Singh, New Delhi: Rajkamal Prakashan, Co-Author, 2012. Link
  • [in Hindi] Sangtin Yatra: Saat Zindagiyon Mein Lipta Nari Vimarsh [A Journey of Sangtin: Feminist Thought Wrapped in Seven Lives]. Nagar, Richa, Anupamlata, Ramsheela, Reshma Ansari, Vibha Bajpayee, Shashibala, Shashi Vaish, Surbala, Richa Singh, Sitapur: Sangtin, Co-Author, 2004. Image
  • Immobility, Intimacy, Movement: Translating Death, Life and Bordercrossings. Nagar, Richa, In eds. Naeem Inayatullah and Elizabeth Dauphinee, London and New York Routledge, Author, 2016. Link
  • Retelling Stories, Resisting Dichotomies: Staging Identity, Marginalization and Activism in Minneapolis and Sitapur: Nagar, Richa, Sofia Shank, In eds. Linda Peake and Martina Reiker, Rethinking Feminist Interventions into the Urban, 90-107, 2013. Link
  • Storytelling and Co-authorship in Feminist Alliance Work: Reflections from a Journey: Nagar, Richa, Gender, Place, and Culture, 20: 1. Also in DOI:10.1080/0966369X.2012.731383 1-18, 2013.
  • Organizing from the Margins: Grappling with "empowerment" in India and South Africa. Nagar, Richa, Amanda Swarr, In eds. Lise Nelson and Joni Seagar, A Companion to Feminist Geography, Co-Author, 2004.
  • Dismantling Assumptions: Interrogating "lesbian" struggles for identity and survival in India and South Africa. Nagar, Richa, Amanda Swarr, SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 29:2:491-516, Co-Author, 2004.
  • Locating Globalization: Feminist (re)readings of the subjects and spaces of globalization. Nagar, Richa, Victoria Lawson, Linda McDowell and Susan Hanson, Economic Geography 78:3:257-284, Co-Author, 2002.
  • English Medium Education, Social Fracturing, and the Politics of Development in Postcolonial India. Nagar, Richa, David Faust, Economic and Political Weekly July 28-August 3:2878-2883, Co-Author, 2001.
  • Women’s Theater and the Redefinitions of Public, Private and Politics in North India: Nagar, Richa, ACME An International E-Journal for Critical Geographers , 1:1: 55-72, 2002.
  • Mujhe Jawab Do [Answer Me]: Feminist grassroots activism and social spaces in Chitrakoot (India). Nagar, Richa, Gender, Place, and Culture 7:4:341-362, Author, 2000.
  • Religion, Race and the Debate over Mut'a in Dar es Salaam. Nagar, Richa, Feminist Studies 26:3:661-690, Author, 2000.
  • "I'd Rather be Rude than Ruled": Gender, Place, and Communal Politics among South Asian Communities in Dar es Salaam. : Nagar, Richa, Women's Studies International Forum, 23:5: 571-585.
  • Communal Discourses, Marriage, and the Politics of Gendered Social Boundaries among South Asian Immigrants in Tanzania. Nagar, Richa, Gender, Place and Culture 5:2:117-139., Author, 1998.
  • Contesting Social Relations in Communal Places: Identity Politics Among Asians in Dar es Salaam. : Nagar, Richa, Helga Leitner. In eds, Ruth Fincher and Jane Jacobs, Guilford Press, Cities of Difference, 226-251, 1998.
  • The Making of Hindu Communal Organizations, Places and Identities in Postcolonial Dar es Salaam: Nagar, Richa, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space , 15 707-730, 1997.
  • Communal Places and the Politics of Multiple Identities: The case of Tanzanian Asians. : Nagar, Richa, Ecumene (now 'Cultural Geographies'), 4:1: 3-26, 1997.
  • The South Asian Diaspora in Tanzania: A History Retold. Nagar, Richa, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East: A Journal of Politics, Culture and Economy 16:2:62-80, Author, 1996.
  • Honored by Hindi Sabha, Sitapur, for unique contributions to Hindi literature, critical pedagogy, & women's empowerment, 2016
  • Rama Watumull Lecturer, Center for South Asian Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 2016
  • Professor of the College, Since 2015
  • Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence, 2015 - 2020
  • Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in Liberal Arts, 2015 - 2018
  • Annual Feminist Faculty Scholar, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, September 2014
  • Mellon Visiting Professor, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, August - October 2013
  • Peg Zeglin Brand Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2013
  • Playing with Fire selected for President’s annual book event at the Sabanci University, Istanbul, 2012 - 2013
  • Jan Monk Gender, Place, and Culture Lecturer, Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers, New York, 2012
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Institute for Advanced Study (JNIAS), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Residential Fellowship, 2011 - 2012
  • Scholar of the College, 2008 - 2011
  • Wallace W. Atwood Lecturer, Department of Geography, Clark University, Worcestor, 2007
  • Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), Stanford: Residential Fellowship, 2005 - 2006
  • Grant-in-aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, University of Minnesota Graduate School, 2003 - 2004
  • McKnight Presidential Fellow, University of Minnesota, 2001 - 2004
  • McKnight Land Grant Professorship, University of Minnesota, 2000 - 2002
  • National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Grant, 1992 - 1993
  • MacArthur Fellow, University of Minnesota, 1989 - 1995