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Ten Years after it was published, the critically acclaimed book, “Why Loiter? Women & Risk on Mumbai Streets” remains audacious and relevant to almost any question posed about women’s access to public space.
In this conversation with architect-academic Kush Patel, the co-authors of Why Loiter, sociologist Shilpa Phadke, journalist Sameera Khan and architect Shilpa Ranade discuss the central ideas of the book and the way they have travelled.
Image Credit (Hero Image)- Avadhoot Khanolkar
Shilpa Phadke is a Professor at the School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is co-director of the documentary, Under the Open Sky (2017). She has published widely both academically and in popular media. Her areas of interest include cities and public spaces, middle-class sexuality, practices of consumption, feminist pedagogy, feminist mothering, young women’s relationship with feminism, online public spaces.
Sameera Khan is a Mumbai-based independent journalist, researcher and writer. A journalist for three decades and a former Assistant Editor with The Times of India, she has taught a masters-level journalism course at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Till recently, she wrote a column, ‘Streetwise’, on women and the city in The Hindu (Metro Plus) newspaper. For the last decade, she has also been a media trainer, guiding journalists on how to cover violence against women, particularly rape.
Shilpa Ranade is a practicing architect and researcher. She is founding partner of the award-winning design firm DCOOP where her portfolio includes master-planning, housing, institutional, interior design and product design projects. She has also been associate editor of the South Asia volume of the book “World Architecture 1900-2000: A Critical Mosaic” (Springer Vienna, 2000). Shilpa is a visiting faculty at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture, Mumbai.
Kush Patel is a queer feminist educator, writer, and public scholar, working at the intersections of architectural history-theory, environmental design studies, and the digital humanities. They have taught at academic institutions in India and the US and their scholarship is informed by a constant interest in the relationships between architecture, infrastructure, and the city, focusing on issues and politics of marginality and participation; social production of space; lived community histories; digital media and storytelling; and formation of expertise across voice and social difference. They hold a PhD in Architecture; professional degrees in Architecture and Urban Design; and a licence.