What follows is a letter exchange between Anna and Richa. Richa’s book, Hungry Translations: Relearning the World Through Radical Vulnerability, underwent significant revisions during the course of this letter exchange. In addition to mediating on the labor of political theater and embodied politics, this exchange underscores the making of conversations and relationships as continuously unfolding journeys that cannot be contained by fixed words on the page.
In Spring 2017, the three of us became part of a semester-long journey through ‘Stories, Bodies, Movements’, a course co-facilitated by one of us (Richa) with Tarun Kumar, a visiting theater artist from Mumbai who joined us at the University of Minnesota. Here we reflect on our ever-unfolding relationships and experiences together.
Each one of us has a unique way of making sense of our life experiences. The exchange of stories, in many different forms, allows us to develop and negotiate how we perceive ours and others’ identities, what we come to know as right and wrong, ethical and just. The way we think of power and privilege, oppression and freedom, and our wants and desires, are shaped through our individual interpretation of the stories we have received throughout our lives and continue to receive daily.
Over two years after the formal close of my own participation in the course, I sit at my desk pouring over the material documents produced by the multiple iterations of Stories, Bodies, Movements, attempting to think about what my own contribution to this volume might look like. In returning to the course in the context of AGITATE!, I seek not to preserve the journey or archive the experience but rather to think about what it means politically, theoretically, conceptually to revisit and extend the work at the heart of Stories, Bodies, Movements. What is the afterlife of the embodied pedagogical commitment of the class?