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The politics of knowledge production: Who tells whose stories and how?

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Forum Theatre

Arts West

The University of Melbourne

Melbourne, Victoria 3053

Australia

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Who gets to tell stories about their own lives and the lives of others? Is it okay that stories of Indigenous Australians have mostly been told by non-Indigenous writers, or that the best-known studies of life in India have been conducted mostly by academics living and working in Euro-America? What makes someone an expert? Should we be concerned that so much scholarly writing is written in language unintelligible to research participants and is read only by a small circle of academics?

In this seminar, we hear from two scholars who tackle these issues in their work. Dr Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic whose research explores settler representations of Aboriginal Australians and the growing impact of Aboriginal writing on Australian literary culture. Professor Richa Nagar’s research explores feminism, activism and NGOs in India. Collaboration and co-authorship are central to her approach, which blends academic, creative, and activist writing and community theatre in English, Hindi, and Awadhi.

Dr Leane and Professor Nagar will each give a brief presentation on their experiences challenging the ways knowledge is produced, deployed, and disseminated. This will be followed by a conversation about convergences and differences in the politics of knowledge production in India and Australia.

This is a partnered event organised with the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Speakers

Richa Nagar is Professor of the College in the College of Liberal Arts and holds a Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence and Beverly and Richard Fink Professorship in Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA. Her multi-lingual scholarship, writing, and teaching in critical development studies, feminist epistemologies, and on questions of translations and alliance work across North/South borders engages multiple genres, including theatre. She began her academic journey with a focus on South Asian communities in Tanzania, and has worked closely with Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, a farmers' and labourers' movement, in Uttar Pradesh since its founding in 2005 and with Parakh Theatre since its founding in 2008. Her co/authored or co/edited books include Sangtin Yatra (2004), Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism Through Seven Lives in India (2006, translated into Turkish, Marathi, and Bahasa Indonesia), A World of Difference: Encountering and Contesting Development (2009), Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis (2010), Ek Aur Neemsar (2012), and Muddying the Waters: Coauthoring Feminisms Across Scholarship and Activism (2014)

Jeanine Leane teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. After a longer teaching career, she completed a doctorate in Australian literature and Aboriginal representation and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the Australian National University. She is the recipient of an Australian Research Council grant for her project, ‘The David Unaipon Award: Shaping the literary and history of Aboriginal Writing in Australian’ that examines since 1988. Her first Volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 (2010, Presspress) won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, 2010 and her first collection of stories, Purple Threads, won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010. Her second volume of poetry, Walk Back Over was published in 2017. Her poetry has been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia and The Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature.

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Forum Theatre

Arts West

The University of Melbourne

Melbourne, Victoria 3053

Australia

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