I am passionate about exploring the ways language encodes certain socio-cultural meanings. Specifically, I examine discourse structures in Hindi and Sanskrit literature that reproduce or challenge gender-based relations of power and dominance in Indian society. I also analyze the formulation of gender (self/)identity as a dynamic process through which Indian social contexts are actively constructed by applying the so-called ‘doing/ performing gender’ approach. In the field of foreign language pedagogy, my research interests are focused on differentiated pedagogical approaches to instruction and assessment of Hindi and Urdu heritage vs. foreign language learners. My translation work includes stories by Amrita Pritam, Manto, Kamleshwar, Mukktibodh, poetry by Manglesh Dabral into Bulgarian and Bulgarian poetry into Hindi. In addition, I have examined Medieval Indian poetics, namely the schools of alankaara (ornaments) and dhvani (suggested meaning) in comparison with Ancient Greek and Roman Rhetoric and some contemporary European literary theories.
I teach advanced Hindi language courses, as well as Ancient Indian Literature and Modern South Asian Literature courses. My Hindi classes are fun, because they are project- and performance-task-based. After we watch films or read stories and articles my students assume roles -- a village chief or a farmer, a NGO activist or a minister, a grandparent or a school principle, a reporter or a TV host show. They submit scripts, speeches, infomercials, opinions in written and audio or video format. We conduct debates, we argue, we defend or reject our characters’ positions. In my literature classes we read works in English translation and focus on developing understanding of the flow of ideas in the time period in which each text is contexted, how it was perceived then and what it means nowadays, what the traditional and new stylistic and rhetorical choices are, etc. Recently, my students have started to work with elementary and middle school kids from underprivileged families in Brooklyn. I also have been involved in teacher education and training, which I have been doing for more than two decades.