Sangita Shresthova is a writer, thinker, speaker and doer. She is an expert in online learning, media literacies, popular culture, performance, new media, politics, and globalization. She is currently the Director of Research and Programs and Co-PI of the Civic Paths Group based at the University of Southern California, where her current work is focused on the civic imagination.
Sangita is one of the creators of the Digital Civics Toolkit (digitalcivicstoolkit.org), a collection of resources for educators, teachers and community leaders to support youth learning. Her own artistic work has been presented in creative venues around the world including the Pasadena Dance Festival, Schaubuehne (Berlin), the Other Festival (Chennai), the EBS International Documentary Festival (Seoul), and the American Dance Festival (Durham, NC). She holds a Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures and MSc. degrees from MIT and LSE. She received her BA from Princeton University.She is also a faculty member at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Social Change in Austria.
A Czech-Nepalese child of the final years of the Cold War, Sangita grew up between Prague and Kathmandu. Her early childhood was shaped by hostile visa policies and travel restrictions. In what could be seen as a reaction to this restrictive experience, she has since taken the opportunity to call many cities home (among them Brussels, London, Kandy, Ahmedabad, Berlin). She relishes any opportunity to draw on her mixed race/cultural chameleon-like background and routinely keeps track of multiple times zones. She is still most comfortable when her carry-on is packed and believes home is simply a place where there is someone waiting for you; right now that is Los Angeles.
Her book on Bollywood dance and globalization (Is It All About Hips?) was published by SAGE Publications in 2011. She is also one of the authors on By Any Media Necessary: The New Activism of Youth, published by NYU Press in 2016. Two of her other co-authored books, Practicing Futures (a guide to harnessing the civic imagination in public life) and A Civic Imagination Casebook, came out in 2020. Along with her colleagues, she is currently working on Transformative Media Pedagogies (a collection of essays centered on the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change) which is slated to come out in 2021. He work has also appeared in various academic and popular publications.
Drawing on her background in dance and new media, Sangita is also the founder of Bollynatyam (bollynatyam.com), a global Bollywood dance Project, and continues to explore Bollywood dance through this platform. Sangita’s creative work has been presented in academic and creative venues around the world including the Schaubuehne (Berlin), AIGA Boston/ATE Massaging Media Conference (Boston), the Other Festival (Chennai), the EBS International Documentary Festival (Seoul), the American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), and Akademi’s Frame by Frame (London, UK). Dancing Kathmandu, her documentary on the cultural marginalization of dancers in Nepal, was a curtain raiser at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival.
Throughout her life, Sangita has used dance to encourage diversity, cross cultural dialogue and exchange. She incorporates what she learned into all her work. Over the years, she studied Bharata Natyam (classical Indian dance), Charya Nritya (Nepalese Dance), Kalaripayat (South Indian martial art) and contemporary dance techniques. She was part of several dance companies and even started her own in Prague. She has taught dance in schools, conservatories, night clubs, and public squares. She brings the joy of movement to everything she does.
She facilitates workshops, speaks, consults and researches on topics related to:
online learning - media literacy
diversity - intercultural dialogues
popular and participatory cultures / fandom
transmedia - by any media necessary
performance and new media
civic engagement and democracy
She enjoys engaging with diverse communities through her workshops, talks, and projects.
Fields of Specialization:
civic engagement, civil society, digital media studies; communication and social change; global communication and digital culture; diversity, participatory cultures; performance and embodiment, digital media and learning; critical and cultural approaches to communication; qualitative, ethnographic and mixed-method research methods.