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A Special Conversation with Professor Richa Nagar: From Playing with Fire to Hungry Translations: Seeking justice through radical vulnerability.

From Playing with Fire to Hungry Translations: Seeking justice through radical vulnerability.

A conversation with Professor Richa Nagar

Wednesday 21 November 3:00-4:30pm.

Murphy Building 632, Kelburn Campus

 The School of Social and Cultural Studies and the Ethnography Commons are pleased to host a conversation with Professor Richa Nagar, the Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota’s  Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Between 2002 and 2004, eight women activists working in Sitapur District of Uttar Pradesh in North India built an alliance with Richa Nagar, a feminist scholar and creative writer. These nine sangtins, or close women companions, walked together to share the stories of their lives and to offer a critique of the ways in which the agendas of women's empowerment projects tend to become NGO-ized and compromised due to the very sociopolitical hierarchies they aimed to confront. Their journey birthed Sangtin Yatra, a book in Hindi, and then a political controversy around the validity of the truths that the women had shared about their lives in that book. This controversy led to the English version of the book, Playing with Fire: Feminist Through and Activism through Seven Lives in India (2006; also translated in Turkish, Marathi, and Bahasa Indonesia) and to the making of the Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (SKMS), a movement of small farmers and labourers in the Sitapur District. In this informal discussion, we will have an opportunity to explore with Richa the ways in which her deep collaboration with Sangtin Writers shaped her academic work after Sangtin Yatra and Playing with Fire, and to discuss such concepts as situated solidarities, radical vulnerability, politics without guarantees, and hungry translations, which she offers in her book, Muddying the Waters: Co-authoring Feminisms Across Scholarship and Activism (2014), and develops further in her forthcoming book Hungry Translations: Relearning the World Through Radical Vulnerability (2019). Professor Nagar has provided two readings to frame the conversation. This event has limited space, please RSVP to Eli Elinoff ( to register and to receive links to the readings.