Big Read Partner Series - Guest Community Curator Koeli Goel overview image

Big Read Partner Series - Guest Community Curator Koeli Goel

  • Post Date: 03/10/2019
  • Author: Beth Watkins
  • Reading Time: 3 minute read

Meet the partners and key collaborators on the NEA Big Read in Champaign-Urbana! This project, centered on Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, is a partnership among the Spurlock Museum, the International & Area Studies Library, the Urbana Free Library, the Champaign Public Library, the Art Theater, and the Indian Cultural Society of Urbana-Champaign.

A national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. This local partnership linking campus, Champaign, and Urbana is one of 79 to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program in the winter of 2019. To date, approximately 39,000 community organizations nation-wide have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit (external link)

Dr. Koeli Goel, Guest Community Curator for exhibit From the Subcontinent to the Prairie

Koeli Moitra Goel is a writer, a filmmaker and researcher in Global Cultural Studies, a communication consultant, an immigration activist, and a community organizer based in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a doctoral degree in Communications and Media, and a Minor in Gender Relations in International Development from the Institute of Communications Research (ICR) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While working in non-profit leadership positions in Central Illinois (2008–2018), like the University Y and Hindu Temple and Cultural Society (HTCSCI), Goel completed interdisciplinary post-doctoral research at the UIUC-ICR in critical cultural studies. She has published and presented widely on globalization in postcolonial societies, cultural studies, migration studies, global studies in education, museum studies, and gender relations in global perspectives. Her most recent work examined globalization and national identity in India in the Spring issue of Sage Publication’s Journalism & Communication Monographs (2018). She is currently engaged in co-editing a book intended as an intervention into 21st-century neoliberal globalization, to be published by Peter Lang early 2019.

Her advocacy work involves leading her own foundation, “Dharitree Ecosphere” (an Illinois non-profit with an international presence in South Asia), to work mainly towards women’s rights and gender equality in India’s informal domestic labor sector, as well as education and empowerment of women and children through vocational training and support. Koeli has been also one of the leading organizers of South Asian events like the Tagore Festival in Champaign-Urbana, and the principal fundraiser and concept-planner of a Cultural Center in Central Illinois’ largest South Asian organization, HTCSCI.