Muddying the Waters
Coauthoring Feminisms across Scholarship and Activism
Published by: University of Illinois Press
240 pages, 156.00 x 235.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780252080357
- Published: October 2014
In Muddying the Waters, Richa Nagar uses stories, encounters, and anecdotes as well as methodological reflections, to grapple with the complexity of working through solidarities, responsibility, and ethics while involved in politically engaged scholarship. Experiences that range from the streets of Dar es Salaaam to farms and development offices in North India inform discussion of the labor and politics of co-authorship, translation and genre blending in research and writing that cross multiple--and often difficult--borders, Nagar links the implicit assumptions, issues, and questions involved with scholarship and political action, and explores the epistemological risks and possibilities of creative research that brings these into intimate dialogue. Daringly self-conscious, Muddying the Waters reveals a politically engaged research and writer working to become "radically vulnerable," and on the ways a focus on such radical vulnerability could allow a re-imagining of collaboration that opens new avenues to collective dreaming and laboring across sociopolitical, geographical, linguistic, and institutional borders.
"A significant contribution to scholarly conversations across the Global North-South, and White vs. feminists-of-color divides. A must-read for anyone who is interested in truly global feminist theorizing."
--Bandana Purkayastha, author of Negotiating Ethnicity
"Muddying the Waters is a searching memoir of one woman's struggle with struggle itself. It breaks from the typical academic genre: fractures the page, leaves fragments untranslated, invokes past and present coauthors, stages a play, asks impossible questions, and ends with a metaphor of impossible struggles-- a small bird fighting a fire, one beak-full of water per flight. The prose is self-critical, courageous, poetical, and open-hearted. The book cannot be read dispassionately by anyone who sees their own reflection in that bird's travail."--Gender, Place & Culture
"In Muddying the Waters, Rich Nagar reflects on more than two decades of transnational feminist activism and scholarship, drawing on academic studies and activist collaborations in Tanzania, India, and the United States. . . . It poses questions about the responsibility academics have to those they co-produce knowledge with."--Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography
"Nagar’s work is a call for politically engaged and ethical research that takes matters of epistemic violence seriously… Muddying the Waters makes an important contribution to debates on the need for political meaningfulness in academic production by offering an illustrative example of how it can be achieved…The book equips its readers with analytical tools to identify and begin to develop responsible and ethical research projects that cross geographical, socio-political and institutional borders."--Journal of Narrative Politics