Lata Mani is a feminist historian, cultural critic, contemplative writer & filmmaker.

She has published books and articles on a broad range of issues, from feminism and colonialism, to illness, spiritual philosophy and contemporary politics.

She was raised in Mumbai (then Bombay), entered her teens in London where she completed high school, and did her undergraduate degree in Political Science at Delhi University (1974). She subsequently worked as a media planner in the UK and in India. Her involvement in the autonomous women’s movement in India in the early 1980’s prompted her return to graduate school. She received an M.A. in Comparative World History (1983) and a Ph.D in History of Consciousness (1989) at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

She was on the faculty of Women’s Studies at the University of California, Davis, when a head injury in 1993 catapulted her into the world of illness and disability. This experience inaugurated a new phase of physical, intellectual and spiritual transformation, deepening previous commitments to social justice in unanticipated ways. Since then her writing has drawn on secular as well as contemplative frameworks in addressing pressing sociocultural issues. More recently she has allowed herself the pleasure of moving beyond text to experiments with image and sound. Her films include several collaborations with Nicolás Grandi.

Key Collaborators

Nicolás Grandi is a Buenos Aires based filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist and educator.

He has been teaching film theory and practice in universities, schools and community workshops in Argentina and India and has cofounded several collectives working at the intersection of film, poetry, music and sculpture. He currently runs transdisciplinary art labs, teaches Theory of the Moving Image at UNTREF, Buenos Aires and supervises TV productions for the national broadcasting system in Argentina. His films which include La Pasión Según Ander (2005), Casafuerte (2004), Esa Puta Esperanza (2001),  Simon Decouvre (2000) have been screened widely at film festivals around the world.

Ruth Frankenberg was an anti-racist feminist scholar and activist.

She was born in Cardiff, Wales and grew up in Manchester, England. She did her BA (1979) at the University of Cambridge in Social and Political Sciences, Archaeology and Anthropology and her Ph.D. (1988) at the University of California at Santa Cruz in History of Consciousness. She is the author of Living Spirit, Living Practice: Poetics, Politics, Epistemology, Duke University Press, 2004 and of White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness, University of Minnesota Press 1993. She also edited Displacing Whiteness: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism, Duke University Press, 1997 and published numerous articles including two essays co-authored with Lata Mani.

White Women, Race Matters won the American Sociological Association Jessie Bernard Award for work expanding sociology to encompass the role of women in society (1995), and the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America award for work on intolerance in North America (1994). She taught Women’s Studies at the University of Washington and American Studies at the University of California, Davis. In the autumn of 2004 she and Lata Mani relocated to Bengaluru, India to complete work on The Tantra Chronicles. She died unexpectedly of cancer in 2007.  Though her work focused on serious subjects she felt boundless optimism and lived with a lightness of touch. More here.


Photo credit for articles & audio page: Mallikarjun Katakol.

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