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Slideshow

Willson Center Distinguished Lecturer: Bhakti Shringarpure's "Publishing at a Crossroads: Notes on the "D" word"

Bhakti Shringarpure
Park Hall 265
Special Information:
Supported by the Willson Center
Abstract: We live in an unprecedented time for publishing with everyone reading more than ever whether it's physical books or on phones and computers. The coming of the Internet, the leaps in the ebooks and audiobooks industry along with the sheer amount of online content available has invigorated the worlds of reading, writing, editing and publishing. Book prizes and book festivals have also grown exponentially. Yet the many publishing exposés and scandals in recent years have also revealed the ways in which corporatization and profit imperatives squash progressive, independent presses, gatekeeping practices remain rampant and the problem of diversity looms larger than ever. Indeed, the last few centuries of European colonialism have eroded structures of knowledge through violent interventions in publishing and education. Today, we have inherited these colonial structures which continue to impact the politics of languages, translation, publishing infrastructures and costs, distribution, review circuits, and access to books all over the world. While calls to diversify publishing and decolonize our bookshelves get louder, we need to take a deeper and longer historical view in order to imagine radical publishing futures. In this talk, Dr. Shringarpure will provide commentary on contemporary publishing culture, and how it silences radical and marginalized voices and share why she started the Radical Books Collective to support progressive, pathbreaking literary writers. 
 
Bio : Dr. Bhakti Shringarpure is a leading postcolonial literature scholar who has been working at the intersection of academia and public humanities for the past ten years. Dr. Shringarpure’s work engages questions of decolonization, race, gender, and violence through a focus on literary and cultural production from the Global South and their circuits of dissemination. She is currently an Associate Professor jointly appointed in the Department of English and the institute of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is also faculty for Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies and the Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity & Politics (IREP) program. 
 

Dr. Shringarpure has co-founded the online magazine, Warscapes, in 2002 to create an alternative space for writing, reportage, reviews and art that is often kept out of mainstream media circulation. Warscapes was awarded grants by the Open Society Foundation and the Flora Foundation and has recently transitioned into the Radical Books Collective under Dr. Shringarpure’s leadership. The Radical Books Collective organizes virtual book clubs as a response to the need for a progressive, alternative and non-commercial approach to books and publishing. It was recently profiled in the Literary Hub and dubbed as a "fast-growing initiative with an international audience of general readers, academics, intellectuals, and book lovers." Recent authors who have accepted invitations to attend this collective are Nobel Prize Winning Abdulrazak Gurnah, Amitav Ghosh, Jennifer Makumbi, Chinelo Okpranta, and many others. Dr. Shringarpure’s book Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital (Routledge, 2019) unfolds the history of postcoloniality and its effect on literary production during the Cold War. Her edited works include Literary Sudans: An Anthology of Literature from Sudan and South Sudan (Africa World Press), Imagine Africa (Archipelago Books), Mediterranean: Migrant Crossings (UpSet Press), and the forthcoming Insurgent Feminisms: Women Write War. She is the co-translator of Neustadt prize-winning writer Boubacar Boris Diop's novel Kaveena (Indiana University Press). She received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award (Kenya) in 2019 and a research fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently the editor of a short books series called Decolonize That! Handbooks for the Revolutionary Overthrow of Embedded Colonial Ideas which is being published by OR Books in New York. Her co-produced section for the Los Angeles Review of Books titled Decolonize | Defund | Abolish engages scholars, artists, and activists in dialogues about structures of colonialism persisting in the world today, and about creative and speculative practices of freedom in response to these structures. She has written for Africa is a Country, New Frame, Scroll, Brittle Paper, LitHub and The Guardian.

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