On Friday February 21, Professor Richa Nagar of the University of Minnesota gave a lecture, sponsored by CAS entitled Muddying the Waters: Co-authoring feminisms across scholarship and activism. The talk was based on her forthcoming book by the same title. Held in ATLAS 100, the lecture was very well attended with approximately 100 participants including not only the 71 graduate students and faculty from CU and around the US who were attending the 20th Critical Geography Conference, for which Professor Nagar’s lecture was one of two keynotes, but also other CU faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students, as well as members of the broader Boulder community. After the hour-long lecture, which was videotaped by CAS, there was a very active and engaged Q&A session from the audience.
Professor Richa Nagar discussed her ongoing efforts to write and work together with women activists in an NGO in Uttar Pradesh, India. Her long-term collaboration with that women’s collective led to their co-authorship of the highly acclaimed 2006 book Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism through Seven Lives in India. In this lecture, she reflected on her engagement with activist-scholarship since that time, traveling in the US with these women from Sitapur district, continually negotiating her role as a scholar and writer based in the US but spending long periods of time in South Asia, controversies about the book in India, and its reception in other countries in the world. She elaborated on a concept of “radical vulnerability” to discuss the politics of knowledge production and co-authorship in contexts of translation across linguistic, geographical and sociopolitical borders.