"You don't need to do everything. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough." - Joanna Macy
My work (teaching, scholarship, and service) is guided by this overarching question: How can we live freer and more conscious lives, while also working to build a more just and humane world?
I feel my task as an academic and more importantly as a human is to live this question, and allow it to work upon my being. The poet and writer Rainier Maria Rilke states this sentiment eloquently: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
In Summer semester 2019, I am teaching LIS 9001: Perspectives on Library and Information Science, as well as LIS 9136: Information Equity: Social Justice in a Network Society. During Fall semester 2019 I am on parental leave, but will return in Winter semester 2020, teaching LIS 9001 and LIS 9136 again.
My teaching at FIMS has spanned a wide variety of formats, from large undergraduate lectures (200 students), LIS core courses (around 40 students), LIS electives (15-20 students), and small theory-centric graduate seminars. My teaching efforts have been awarded with a FIMS Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012, an honor that I am very proud of http://www.fims.uwo.ca/about/news/news_items/12-11-15/Of_Interest_-_Faculty_News.aspx. In July 2014, I was also placed on the FIMS Dean's Honour Roll for Excellence in Teaching.
A major theme in my research agenda over the last few years has been information equity. Namely, I have been concerned with power imbalances and dynamics in the “information society.” This concern has led me to do research and publish on topics such as open source software, open access publishing, international library development, immigrant information behavior, and critical social theory’s intersection with the field of information studies.
Currently, I am becoming more interested in the field of contemplative studies. As a certified yoga and meditation teacher myself, I am interested in the role of yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness-centered practices in the academy. In the past I have given free yoga and meditation classes to the FIMS and wider Western community. Since Fall 2016, I have been teaching an 8-week course at Western's Wellness Education Centre, entitled Yoga for Stress Relief. These classes form part of my vision of a university education that focuses on the “head, hearts, and hands” of students, addressing their needs as “whole persons” rather than merely as “heads on bodies” that need to be filled with information/knowledge. In honor of this work, I was named one of the inaugural recipients of the Western Wellness Award of Recognition in October 2017: http://www.fims.uwo.ca/news/2017/ajit_pyati_receives_western_leadership_in_wellness_award_of_recognition.html
Some Recent Publications
Pyati, A.K. (2018). “The importance of thoughtful resistance in the age of Trump,” The Conversation Canada. Available: https://theconversation.com/the-importance-of-thoughtful-resistance-in-the-age-of-trump-108151
Pyati, A.K. (2017). “Contemplation as Educational Activism within Communication Studies,” Canadian Journal of Communication 42(1): 67-80. Available: https://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/3090/3325
Pyati, A.K. (2017). Interrogating the nature of identity in an age of rising nationalism. The Arrow: A Journal of Wakeful Society, Culture & Politics. Available: https://arrow-journal.org/interrogating-the-nature-of-identity-in-an-age-of-rising-nationalism