Cover for NAGAR: Hungry Translations: Relearning the World through Radical Vulnerability. Click for larger image

Hungry Translations

Relearning the World through Radical Vulnerability

A fearless new approach to the search for poetic and social justice

Experts often assume that the poor, hungry, rural, and/or precarious need external interventions. They frequently fail to recognize how the same people create politics and knowledge by living and honing their own dynamic visions. How might scholars and teachers working in the Global North ethically participate in producing knowledge in ways that connect across different meanings of struggle, hunger, hope, and the good life?

Informed by over twenty years of experiences in India and the United States, Hungry Translations bridges these divides with a fresh approach to academic theorizing. Through in-depth reflections on her collaborations with activists, theater artists, writers, and students, Richa Nagar discusses the ongoing work of building embodied alliances among those who occupy different locations in predominant hierarchies. She argues that such alliances can sensitively engage difference through a kind of full-bodied immersion and translation that refuses comfortable closures or transparent renderings of meanings. While the shared and unending labor of politics makes perfect translation--or retelling--impossible, hungry translations strive to make our knowledges more humble, more tentative, and more alive to the creativity of struggle.

Read an Open Access version of Richa Nagar's book Muddying the Waters: Coauthoring Feminisms across Scholarship and Activism

"A brilliantly conceived, movingly narrated, and sensitively braided book. In it, the philosophical, theoretical, methodological, political, geographical, and spiritual stakes are high and concern the ethics and integrity of the poetics of political struggle, wherever that struggle might take place. Richa Nagar and the Saathis, Dalits, Kisans, and Mazdoors provide powerful fuel for a different kind of entitlement—the entitlement to justice."--M. Jacqui Alexander, author of Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred

"Written in Nagar's inimitable lyrical and theoretically provocative style, Hungry Translations invites and challenges us to participate in ongoing/unfinished stories and journeys of movement building across uneven social and epistemic terrain. The spiral movement of the text mobilizes and interweaves stories, bodies, and knowledges to rethink the process of translation as a 'telling in turn,' and a hunger for justice, rather than a straightforward 'carrying across of meaning.' Moving fluidly across three primary sites of movement building, political theatre, and classroom, Nagar imagines and enacts a landscape of ethical solidarity, introducing concepts like radical vulnerability, situated solidarity, hungry translations, and relational journeys of entanglement to map interwoven stories, campaigns, movements, struggles, and knowledges. A brilliantly incisive and original book that belongs on the bookshelves of all activist scholars committed to an ethical praxis of border crossing."--Chandra Talpade Mohanty, coeditor of Feminist Freedom Warriors, Genealogies, Justice, Politics and Hope


Richa Nagar is Professor of the College in the College of Liberal Arts and a core faculty member in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. Her books include Muddying the Waters: Coauthoring Feminisms across Scholarship and Activism, Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism through Seven Lives in India, and A World of Difference: Encountering and Contesting Difference.

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