Sites of Collaboration

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Collaboration is a central tenet of Richa Nagar’s work on the politics and poetics of academic research, where she also elaborates on the responsibility of a scholar who labors as alliance-worker in building movements. Movements, for her, are about collectively struggling to transform unjust socioreligious and political structures as well as about decolonizing our hearts, minds, and bodies. Nagar approaches collaboration as a journey of collective unlearning and relearning that confronts extractive modes of knowledge making whether in the form of ethnographic and other kinds of field research, or in the form of the knowledge produced by the state or corporations; moreover, she critiques  static definitions of such concepts as ethics, empowerment, rights, and justice. In this collective journey of co-evolving knowledges and visions, all the co-travelers strive to embrace radical vulnerability. That is, each ‘i’ which is part of the ‘we’ works continuously to dissolve their individualized ego in order to make a community of co-authors who hunger to move together in search of justice. Rather than offering collaboration as a panacea for problems of fieldwork or as a method for winning the trust of those who are skeptical of academic researchers, Nagar sees collaboration as a mutually transformative process -- a dynamic and embodied praxis that is rooted in trust and that gives birth to serendipitous collective energies and encounters that define a powerful politics without guarantees (Muddying the Waters, 2014; Editor’s Interview with Nagar, 2016; Nagar with Toronto Collective, 2016; Hungry Translations, forthcoming).