I am a doctoral researcher at the department of Sociology. My research project is entitled: 'Inscriptions of (in)equality: Interrogating texts and practices in an Indian classroom'. I am interested in the relationship between socioeconomic injustice in and beyond the classroom, and the ways in which students negotiate power relations in both contexts. My project looks at the linkages between various aspects of the classroom experience i.e., hidden and overt curriculum and pedagogic processes and interrogates the ways in which these work together to (re)produce power relations. I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in a state government run school in Indore, Madhya Pradesh between September 2014 and April 2015.
In additon to feminist analyses of gender, class and caste relations in the Indian context, my work draws upon Michel Foucault's conceptualisation of disciplinary power and governmental subjectivation as well as Jacques Ranciere's thesis of equality and notion of political subjectivation.
While questions of social justice and empowerment in and through education are becoming increasingly urgent in India, a more systematic focus on classroom processes and (re)production of realities of marginalisation or emancipation is only beginning to emerge. There is also need to engage with the notion and forms of 'resistance', and the relationship of education policy to classroom processes. My work aims to address some of these gaps and, more importantly, raise the profile of education as one of the central sites of power struggles in India.
I grew up in small towns and cities in central India (states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra) and my original plan, inspired by my school-teacher parents, was to teach Physics to high school kids. I did go on to obtain a Master's in Physics (DAVV, Indore), but I also worked with underprivileged kids throughout my undergraduate and postgraduate education. I became so emotionally and politically invested in questions around welfare, the role of the state, the right to education and social justice, that I had to evolve a new plan... I spent some time at a Social Work college in Mumbai, volunteered with children's shelters, worked freelance for a workers' union in Indore, worked as an activist, and eventually wound up getting a second Master's in Education (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai). During this programme I developed a passionate interest in Sociology of Education and Language Pedagogy. The MA programme, my work on curriculum development and as an activist in India and the USA combined to steer me toward research and a career in academics.
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Most of my spare time is spent reading. I love reading poetry and short stories in Hindi and am a sucker for all sorts of murder mysteries in English, particularly, those high on the forensic investigative bits. I enjoy listening to a variety of music but particularly love vintage Hindi soundtracks and Sufi music. I am also increasingly interested in Tamil movies and music.
In addition, I like to write and enjoy working with children. I have often spent time volunteering with children's organisations. Most importantly, I like to get involved in local activism for women's and workers' rights and young people's right to free and quality education.
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