Arjun Shankar

Dr. Shankar is an anthropologist, critical pedagogue, and mediamaker whose work falls into three broad areas. First, he is concerned with the politics of help and its role in upholding systems of racial capitalism. In his book, Brown Saviors and their Others (Duke, 2023), he takes India's burgeoning help economy, specifically the education NGO sector, as a site from which to interrogate these ideas. He shows how colonial, racial, and caste formations undergird how transnational and digitized NGO work is done in India today. Second, he is a visual anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker who has been interested in developing decolonial, participatory visual methodologies. He has primarily focused on the neocolonial politics of representation, global circulation, and reception of the "impoverished" and "suffering" child figure and offers new multimodal methods as alternatives to these paradigms. He is also interested in multimodal evaluation and publishing, asking questions regarding the possibilities that might accompany non-textual knowledge production. Towards this end, he is a current editor with the multimodal section of American Anthropologist. Finally, he is an advocate for Curiosity Studies (with Perry Zurn), an emerging interdisciplinary field which challenges us to think anew about scholarly production, pedagogic praxis, and the political role of the academician. Arjun asks: what might a radical curiosity make possible and what political, economic, and social constraints prevent the flourishing of curiosity?