Roots of Knowledge: Dr. Chitralekha Duttagupta

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Roots of Knowledge Speaker Series had their final event for the semester on April 11, 2024.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The final speaker for the Roots of Knowledge Speaker Series spring of 2024 was faculty member Dr. Chitralekha Duttagupta, a professor in the literacies and composition department. She spoke on writing, reading and the tree of knowledge. In this presentation, she discussed human writing development through centuries, beginning with the cave paintings in Mesopotamia, to the modern-day writing classroom. 

 She started by stating that, “Literacy is the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”   

She highlighted the fact that these cave paintings and early pictures were a form of communication and storytelling, which slowly developed into written languages across the world. With countries developing their own way of writing, for example, Mesopotamia had a set of poems called “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” which is a king explaining why he didn’t want to die. In China, they would burn ox shoulder bones and the way the smoke would come from the bones would be a message from a deity. This then would be written down, recorded and shared with the people.  

Dr. Duttagupta explained, through her research, that the first person ever to be recognized in writing was Enheduanna, a woman from Mesopotamia in 2250 BCE. She was a princess and a priestess, as well as a writer and poet. Dr. Duttagupta also stated it is controversial to many historians in academics, as they do not want to recognize Enheduanna as the first named author.  

She also explained that during her time as a professor at UVU, she has enjoyed teaching students to improve their writing and reading skills. She also stated with the advancement of technology that students should stick to traditional ways of writing and not have artificial intelligence write their papers for them.  

Dr. Duttagupta received her Ph.D. in rhetoric/composition and linguistics from Arizona State University in 2001. She also received a Ph.D. from Jadavpur University in 1991. For more information about the Roots of Knowledge Speaker Series, visit this link