Prajval Shastri and Chayanika Shah
While equitable access to the scientific enterprise has been widely discussed in both scholarship and within scientific spaces, there remain many who do not feel welcome and included in the science classroom. More recent narratives of those excluded, point to the ways in which attempts at inclusion have been limiting, and non-accommodative of difference. From these critiques more complex understandings of intersectional layers of systems of oppression that inhabit our institutions and practices have emerged, which this workshop will attempt to understand. Further, it also hopes to start a process of interrogation of our own work as people critically engaging with science education.
About the workshop speakers
Prajval Shastri: rajval Shastri is an astrophysicist of nearly four decades. She investigates the physics of giant black holes that are found in the centres of distant galaxies using telescopes at multiple frequencies based on earth as well as in space. She got her PhD from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and after post-doctoral research positions in the University of Texas at Austin, University of California at Berkeley and the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics she was a faculty of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru for 23 years. She has been a Fulbright fellow at Stanford University and is currently Emeritus Scientist at the Raman Research Institute and Adjunct Professor at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Australia. She is extremely passionate about science outreach. She believes that the cultivation of scientific thinking is for everyone, uses astrophysics as a vehicle to engage lay audiences of all ages with these questions, and works for the peoples science movement towards this goal. She is also deeply concerned about the inequities in the sciences and attempts to bring an intersectional lens to the endeavours to mitigate them. She is founder and past chair of the Gender in Physics Working Group of the Indian Physics Association and past member of the Working Group for Gender Equity of the Astronomical Society of India. She is Vice-chair of the Women in Physics Working Group of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and on the Executive Committee for the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development. In addition to her research publications and popular articles on astrophysics, her published work includes writings on gender inequity as well as science and society.
Chayanika Shah: Chayanika Shah is an educator, writer, researcher and queer feminist activist. She has campaigned, researched, taught, and written on feminist studies of science, the politics of population control and reproductive technologies, communalism, gender studies, sexuality and sexual rights. In 2008, she voluntarily retired from her college teaching job where she taught Physics. She has survived since doing some research projects but mainly trying to retain a collective optimism in the goodness of the world. Her books are “Space, Segregation, Discrimination: The Politics of Space in Institutions of Higher Education” published by Yoda Press in 2021, “No Outlaws in the Gender Galaxy” published by Zubaan, “Bharat ki Chhaap” a companion book for the documentary of the same name and “We and Our Fertility: The politics of technological intervention”.