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Radha Radkar


Brooklyn, NY

Recorded by

Anna Levy


This interview with Radha Radkar was conducted on May 20, 2021 remotely via Zoom. Radha is an educator teaching at an all-girls high school in New York City. In this interview, Radha talked about her journey in education as a student, teacher, administrator, ally, learner, and visionary. She has held multiple roles in different kinds of schools, from writing center support at CUNY for a wide range of ages and backgrounds, to administration at the Bard Prison Initiative, and finally developing and running an ethnic studies curriculum at her current school. She discussed themes of polarity between a debilitating year and a year filled with resilience, particularly for students and faculty of color. She described major points of anxiety and uncertainty in the year as falling just before September when reopening was contentious and uncertain on all fronts. She reflected throughout on her journey as an educator both in daily practice and her philosophies on education in a highly unequal system, and how this year opened new possibilities, reinforced the same grief as always for communities of color, and triggered new chances and patterns for rethinking how education happens (from essentially troubleshooting the whole year). She talked with curiosity and concern and what the next generations of teachers will be like, what their motivations, skills, and incentives will be in this kind of context. As a woman who grew up working class and of South Asian descent, she spoke in comparative terms about her parents' own past experiences and the roles of teachers in literally building up schools and education after colonialism, and what it means for reflecting on education now and in the future in the U.S.

Interviewer Bio:

Anna Levy is a researcher, strategic analyst, educator and oral historian. Most of her work is at the intersection of accountability politics, structural inequality, historical and collective memory, and the role of civilian movements in economic and political transitions. She uses mixed research methods to map out the pressures and incentives guiding complex systems--including the political economy of organizations or cities in crisis, militarized border bureaucracies, or the shifting legal and digital frontlines of collective civic action, among others. Anna uses oral history to bring out the multiple, intersecting experiences that make up the day-to-day of those systems in order to help inform advocacy, policy and power shifts. She teaches on emergency and disaster politics at Fordham University and is an avid capoeirista. Her website is |

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

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