An interactive session by Dr. Richa Nagar on her book 'Hungry Translations'
January 13, 2020: The Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Department hosted visiting scholar Dr. Richa Nagar, who conducted an interactive session on her book, Hungry Translations: Relearning the World through Radical Vulnerability at the IBA Main Campus. Dr. Nagar is a Professor at the University of Minnesota and is well-known for her inter-disciplinary work on the politics of development, feminism and creative practice.
Commencing the session, Dr. Nagar talked about her journey as a student first and later as a researcher and an author and spoke about how she arrived at the questions which she has discussed in her books. She read a few segments from Hungry Translations and contextualized her work in it in relation to her earlier books, 'Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism Through Seven Lives in India' and 'Muddying the Waters: Co-authoring Feminism Across Scholarship and Activism'.
According to Dr. Nagar, experts often assume that the poor, hungry, rural, and/or precarious need external interventions. However, they frequently fail to recognize how the same people create politics and knowledge by living and honing their own dynamic visions. The question then becomes, how might scholars working in the Global North ethically participate in producing knowledge in ways that connect across different meanings of struggle, hunger, hope, and the good life?
She emphasized on how Hungry Translations bridges these divides with a fresh approach to academic theorizing. Through in-depth reflections on her collaborations with activists, theatre artists, writers, and students over the last two decades, Dr. Nagar discusses the ongoing work of building embodied alliances among those who occupy different locations in predominant hierarchies. Unlearning and relearning from her journeys with the Sangtin movement, Parakh Theatre, and students at the University of Minnesota, she argues that such alliances can sensitively engage difference through a kind of full-bodied immersion and translation that refuses comfortable closures or transparent renderings of meanings. While the shared and unending labor of politics makes perfect translation--or retelling--impossible, Hungry Translations strives to make our knowledges humbler, more tentative, and more alive to the creativity of struggle.