Hop, skip, jump!

PROFile: Dr. Sharanpal Ruprai, associate professor, women’s and gender studies department, U of W

During her time as a postsecondary student and an associate professor for the University of Winnipeg’s (U of W) women’s and gender studies department, Dr. Sharanpal Ruprai’s educational journey is something of a traversal triangular tour between Winnipeg, Calgary and Toronto.

Dr. Ruprai began studying at the U of W and from there went to Calgary, to Toronto, back to Calgary, back to Winnipeg and is currently back in Calgary.

“It was kind of like this little hop, skip and jump all across the Prairies,” she says. 

While travelling all over the Prairies as a student, Dr. Ruprai achieved bachelor degrees in education and English, a master’s in English and a doctorate in philosophy.

Upon completing her schooling, Dr. Ruprai had a moment of pause where a jarring question came to mind: now what?

“I was jobless,” she says. “I went ‘oh wow, who’s going to hire me now? Holy doodle!’” 

After a year, Dr. Ruprai earned her position at the U of W and has since created a class for the Indigenous Course Requirement (ICR) with BIPOC students in mind. 

“The course is called Critical Race and Indigenous Feminisms,” she says. 

Dr. Ruprai acknowledges that the course should actually be split in two. Unfortunately, this is a difficult feat to accomplish with a small, six-person department where funding is scarce. Despite these setbacks, the women’s and gender studies department is aware of the issue and hopes to diversify the department. 

As of now, Dr. Ruprai continues to teach remotely from Calgary and is looking forward to teaching more courses that relate to BIPOC literature and topics. She is especially looking forward to teaching a South Asian diasporic film course next year. 

“I hope to support a lot more Students of Colour moving forward.”

What’s the best thing about your work?

“I get to read and write and think and engage with students and peers, talk about books and ideas. That’s my dream job.”

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

“Right now, it would be flying.” 

What was the movie that had the biggest impact on you?

Fire by Deepa Mehta,” she says. “It’s an amazing film.” 

Published in Volume 75, Number 13 of The Uniter (January 7, 2021)

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