Anu Taranath Speaks At PCC
Scholar on Global Literature Comes to PCC
With her Ph.D. from University of California San Diego, Dr. Anu Taranath is a professor in the English Department and the Comparative History of Ideas Program at the University of Washington Seattle since 2000. She is a Fulbright-Hays Scholar, and a recipient of the University of Washington 2010 Distinguished Teaching Award. In addition to her work with wonderful undergraduates in the Seattle classroom, she leads a study abroad program to India on issues of social justice and NGO activism.
Year after year, Taranath routinely earns the highest ratings in the UW’s English Department and often remains in close contact with students long after finals week is over. In writing about her teaching, she notes,"My pedagogical philosophy encompasses joy, accountability, camaraderie, and passionate engagement. My students are my greatest colleagues on this campus. I feel that every class is an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion and idea-making, and I am extraordinarily fortunate to have this experience again and again." Her areas of expertise include contemporary world and multi-ethnic literatures; colonial and postcolonial literatures and theory; transnational feminist and cultural studies
In this engaging lecture, Taranath used examples from global literature to showcase this extraordinary body of talented writing and to suggest ways of reading that invite conversation on often difficult topics of power, privilege, voice, and agency. In her talk, she discussed how a novel from Nigeria, Sri Lanka, or Trinidad illuminates local cultures, but also invites us to reflect on our own culture, be it in Gresham, Hillsboro, or North Portland. She noted that when characters and stories in novels speak like us or seem totally dissimilar, in figuring this out during our reading process, we begin to form an impression of what we are like, how we define ourselves, and where these definitions come from. Literature from around the globe helps us picture “people over there” and brings texture and depth to our lives “over here.”