The Scholar-in-Residence program at Lang gives students the opportunity to engage with visiting scholars, writers, and thinkers who are leaders in their fields. Each residency features public dialogues; small, hands-on workshops; and seminars immersing students in the scholar’s work and practices.
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Shobha Rao moved to the United States from India at the age of seven. After receiving undergraduate training in biomedical engineering, she earned a law degree, and for many years, she worked as a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence, mainly immigrant women. Her short story collection, An Unrestored Woman (Flatiron Books/Macmillan), focuses on the lives of women and children during the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. Her novel, Girls Burn Brighter (Flatiron Books/Macmillan), is a fictional account of poor girls from contemporary India journeying to the United States to find one another after one of them is trafficked. T.C. Boyle selected her short fiction for the 2015 Best American Short Stories. Rao received her MFA from San Francisco State University. She is the winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and the recipient of a Elizabeth P. George Foundation Fellowship. She has twice been invited to the Hedgebrook Writers in Residence Program and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In a review of her work for the Los Angeles Times, Bethanne Patrick observed, "Shobha Rao writes cleanly and eloquently about women who, without their brightness, might have been left to die in their beds. She writes them into life, into existence, into the light of day."
Learn more about Shobha Rao.
Shanelle Matthews joined The New School for Social Research in fall 2017 as the university’s inaugural activist-in-residence. In spring 2018, Lang’s Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice invited Matthews to continue her residency, with its focus on bridging the gap between practice-based social justice work in communities and the rigorous research taking place in academia. At Lang, she is teaching an undergraduate course, Black Resistance: 1960-2018. She is also leading skills-building workshops, a series that partners with social leaders across New York City to introduce students to practices they can implement in their organizing and activism, and in February, she moderated a panel discussion with members of the Black Panther Party. A self-described “part social science iconoclast, part feminist theory maven,” Matthews is the former director of Communications for the Black Lives Matter Global Network and brings to The New School a decade of experience in journalism, litigation, rapid response, and campaign communications. Learn more about Shanelle Matthews.
Diana Goetsch is an award-winning poet, essayist, and writer of the American Scholar column Life in Transition. The column, she says, was her opportunity to document her coming out as a trans woman “as a service to a battered community.” She has published eight collections of poetry, and her work has appeared in many magazines, journals, and other publications, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. Her teaching credits include positions in higher education in Oklahoma and Kentucky and 21 years in the NYC public schools, where she founded a creative writing program for incarcerated juveniles. Read more about the Grace Paley Teaching Fellowship.
Dr. bell hooks (née Gloria Watkins) is an internationally recognized scholar, poet, author, and radical thinker. Dr. hooks' writings cover a broad range of topics, including gender, race, teaching, and contemporary culture. According to her, these topics must be understood as interconnected and linked in the production of systems of oppression and class domination. During her residency, Dr. hooks engaged in enlightening, powerful, and lively public dialogues with leading intellectuals and scholars.
Dr. Gilligan's first book, In a Different Voice, is described by Harvard Press as "the little book that started a revolution." She was named by TIME magazine one of the "25 Most Influential Americans." Her latest book is Joining the Resistance. Learn more about her residency, titled “Listening to Voices Listening to Gender,” here.
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