Meet our Teachers. Runa Chakraborty Paunksnis

Important | 2023-06-26

Originally from India, researcher Runa Chakraborty Paunksnis started working at Kaunas University of Technology 5 years ago and has perfectly integrated into the university community. Her main topics are gender and identity politics, media studies and postcolonial literature. However, Runa is not only a scientist, she is also a writer and translator. Currently, Runa teaches gender philosophy and media, academic and business communication, technical and professional writing and editing to students of various study programmes at KTU Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

„Most of the young people today display a certain maturity which was not there among many of the the young people of my generation“.

Can you briefly introduce yourself? Where are you from, what are your current activities, and which one takes up the most of your time?

I am, originally, from India. Presently, I am teaching at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities in Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. Teaching and research take up most of my time.

What inspired you to focus on gender philosophy? What aspects of this field do you like the most?

There is no one single event/ thing that inspired me to focus on gender philosophy. I have been interested in topics related to gender discrimination since my under-graduate days. Back then, I was involved in various projects and activities that aimed to sensitize people about gender equality. Later, I obtained my M.Phil degree in Women’s Studies which helped me immensely when I was pursuing my PhD.

I must say, I like every bit of it – from theory to activism. What I like most is the continually evolving nature of this field and its ability to question its own earlier assumptions.

What do you think about the youth of today? What are the main issues that they are, or should be, interested in?

I don’t wish to generalize since life-situations are varied and heterogeneous. Yet, I think young people, today, are more aware about themselves and the world around them. It may sound absurd to many, especially to those who think youth, today, is confused and directionless. However, my regular interaction with young students tells me a different story. Yes, there are some who seem to have lost control over their own selves, but most of them display a certain maturity which was not there among many of the young people of my generation.

They are, as I already said, quite alert; however, I think, they should be a little more critically invested. Let’s say, in the field of gender philosophy, it’s important to understand the nuances that are embedded in the oft-used expression “gender discrimination”.  You will be able to decode it more accurately when you use your critical thinking abilities. The kind of world we are living in, it’s necessary that we all, (especially the young people), hone our ability to think critically.

What is the main thing that you try to teach your students that you would like everyone else knew as well?

I want my students to think independently and critically. I try to impart a holistic view to my students, so that they can make informed decisions. I wish the same for everyone else.

How do you spend your free time? Maybe there is a specific hobby that helps you escape the intensive academic activities?

Since teaching and research occupy most of what I call “conscious active time”, there is hardly any time which can genuinely be called “free”. Yet, whenever there is an opportunity, I like to go for a walk and listen to music.

What principles guide you in life?

There is a Sanskrit word – “Charaibeti”/ “Charaiveti”.  The word has a profound philosophical meaning; however, literally, it means “to move on“ or “to keep moving”. This word has always been a source of immense strength and inspiration for me.

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