This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.

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

All rights are reserved by Oral History Summer School.

Researchers will understand that:

  • Oral History Summer School abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association (2018) and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.
  • Unless verbal patterns are germane to your scholarly work, when quoting from this material researchers are encouraged to correct the grammar and make other modifications maintaining the flavor of the narrator’s speech while editing the material for the standards of print.
  • All citations must be attributed to Oral History Summer School:
    Narrator’s Name, Oral history interview, YYYY, Oral History Summer School
Library

Radha Radkar

Location:

Brooklyn, NY

Recorded by

Anna Levy

Summary:

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 returned to 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 experience and the role 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 | Jafsadi.works.

Additional Info:
Interview language(s):
English
Audio quality:
Medium

Audio Quality Scale

Low - There is some background noise and the narrator is hard to hear.

Medium - There is background noise, but the narrator is audible.

High - There is little background noise and the narrator is audible.

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.

Part of this interview may be played in a radio broadcast or podcast.