Year in Review: 2017 by Neelofer Qadir

One of my major goals for 2017 was to write more and while I certainly accomplished that around academic writing, I didn't meet my creative nonfiction writing goals. I want to move toward that kind of writing by working in this blog space, an environment from which I have been quite a bit removed for much of graduate school. Here's my year, recapped through questions and ideas borrowed from a few sources. [1][2][3]

1. What was one of the moments I was most proud of this year? What does that tell me about what I want to spend my energy/time/money on next year?

There are a few moments I was most proud of but one bubbles up to the very top. I took a road trip from Massachusetts to Arkansas with my dog, Haathi, to visit my family. During the week I spent with my parents, we co-translated Ngugi wa Thiong'o's short story, "The Upright Revolution: Or, Why Humans Walk Upright" from English to Urdu for Jalada Translation Issue 01. This experience was especially meaningful for two reasons:

  1. To collaborate with my parents on something that brings together our life experiences as an academic, physician, and military officer. Perhaps it's no surprise that all three of us have been educators for some part of our lives. 

  2. To return myself to one of my native languages, Urdu, through another language that I consider myself (begrudgingly) native, too, as well, English. The path between these two languages tha0t I have known is intertwined intimately as my first tongues and yet they also could not be further apart for English is the language in which I most often live and labor. It was a joy to return home to Urdu with my parents, with writing, with building knowledge together.

What that means for next year is to spend more time and energy in Urdu, to continue repairing familial relationships, to building with and in my multiple communities.

2. Who really enriched my life this year in a big way? Who is someone I am wanting to get to know better in the year ahead?

Activists from prison abolitionists to immigrant(ion) organizers. I am inspired daily by the work of @prisonculture, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Black Immigrant Justice Alliance, Make the Road, and the Pioneer Valley Workers Center. I'm heartened by the artists and those making space for their work, such as the Asian American Writers Workshop and the Brooklyn Museum. Thanks to every day people who showed up in the streets, online, and our communities. 

3. It was a year of resistance for many people. What did I resist most effectively? What did I surrender to?

I resisted the drama of the mainstream news media. As an avid news junkie, it was hard to create distance between the onslaught of terrible events, whether state violence or climate disasters. Instead, I connected more with people responding to these and learned from them in more substantive ways that build connections between events that otherwise seem unconnected. 

4. Who did I feel most jealous of this year? What is that person up to that I want to bring more of into my own life?

I lived too fully this year to find myself jealous of anyone or anything. I made academic/professional moves that I am proud of and traveled a lot in ways that stretched me/ were gratifying. 

5. When was I most physically joyful in 2017? How can I get there more in 2018?

Traveling and cities bring me the most joy so it's no surprise that I felt most grounded and lifted in Stone Town (Zanzibar) and Kigali (Rwanda). 


Galleries and Museum Exhibitions I Loved

Books I Read for Fun!

(New) Places I Traveled

  • USA: Cleveland (Ohio), Louisville (Kentucky), Ithaca (New York)
  • Dubai
  • Kenya: Mombasa and Diani 
  • Zanzibar: Stone Town
  • Tanzania: Dar es Salaam
  • Rwanda: Kigali