Shubhra Gururani

Department of Anthropology

Associate Professor

Office: Vari Hall, 2038
Phone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 33716
Emailgururani@yorku.ca

My areas of research are critical political ecologies, space and place, postcolonial development, and histories of science and nature. Interested primarily in exploring the co-production of nature, gender, race, and place, I have conducted fieldwork in the Indian Himalayas, namely Uttarakhand and examined how long and complex histories of science and colonialism produce ‘nature’ as a contested space of meanings, identities, knowledges, and social movements.

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My areas of research are critical political ecologies, space and place, postcolonial development, and histories of science and nature. Interested primarily in exploring the co-production of nature, gender, race, and place, I have conducted fieldwork in the Indian Himalayas, namely Uttarakhand and examined how long and complex histories of science and colonialism produce ‘nature’ as a contested space of meanings, identities, knowledges, and social movements. More recently, I have begun work on a new project, which maps the unfolding processes and politics of (sub)urbanization in India. It focuses on Gurgaon, the Millennial City of India, which lies just outside of New Delhi. Bustling with shopping malls, shiny office towers, luxury apartment enclaves, IT complexes, and countless construction sites, Gurgaon stands as an urban spectacle. Interested in understanding how cities of the global south are being shaped in this particular neoliberal moment, my attempt is to map a history of urban planning or non-planning and examine the unfolding politics of infrastructure 'provisions.' Current Research 1. Global suburbanisms: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century. SSHRC-MCRI Project. Co-applicant This multi-year project brings together a interdisciplinary team of researchers from around the world and maps the processes, practices, and politics of suburbanization as it unfolds in different forms. Exploring the gated communities of the global north as well as the slums and suburbs of the south, the project through diverse methodologies takes stock of worldwide suburban developments while analyzing their governance models, land use, infrastructure and suburban everyday life. I will be the Project Lead for South Asia as well as Waste and Sewage themes. Students interested in these or related issues are encouraged to contact me. 2. Changing Urban Frontiers: The Case of Gurgaon, India This research project explores the changing frontiers of urbanization in India. In particular, it focuses on the politcs of urban governance with special reference to wastewater and sewage management in Gurgaon 3. Nature Matters: Articulations of Nature, Place, and Gender in Uttarakhand Himalayas, India. In looking through ethnographic and historical lenses, this research project explores how the colonial discourses and practices of ‘conserving,’ ‘disciplining,’ and ‘improving’ nature (and people) have left lasting legacies that not only inform contemporary cultural politics of labor and livelihood but also the surveillance and managerial practices of the Indian state. It draws from feminist and post-colonial theory, political ecology, and critical race theory and crosses disciplinary boundaries of cultural geography, anthropology, women studies, and environmental studies. 4. Live Stock: When Humans, Cattle, Hybrids, and Jerseys Meet in Kumaon Himalayas, India. This project addresses how anthropology can draw on and develop further the ‘more-than-human’ analytics for understanding the society/nature relationship and focuses its attention to the cattle in the Himalayas. It considers the non-human, and particularly the animal, as a serious matter of concern and views it as constitutive of social and political networks of everyday life. 5. Neoliberal Natures This project examines the neoliberal shifts in environmental governance, namely participatory forestry, microplanning, and community based management. Related to this work, I am currently involved in a Major Collaborative Research Initiative on "The Mobilization of Knowledge in Ecologies on the Edge." For this project, I will be working with a wide network of scholars from around the world to examine how new forms of knowledge production and circulation, namely through monitoring and certification systems are producing a new politics of knowledge and practices of ecological governance. I will be focusing in the Himalayas. Students interested in the area encouraged to contact me.

All Publications

Books

2014 "Ethnographies of the Political: Honouring Malcolm Blinco" Special section edited by Shubhra Gururani & Karl Schmid Anthropologica 57(1).

2014 "Gender in the Himalaya: Cultural Politics of Gendered Identity, Place, and Positionality" Special Section: Gender in the Himalaya edited by Kim Berry & Shubhra Gururani Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 34(1): 36-42.

2014 "Geographies that Make Resistance”: Remapping the Politics of Gender and Place in Uttarakhand, India" Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 34(1): 68-79.

2014 "Introduction: New Frontiers of Ecological Knowledge: Co-producing Knowledge and Governance in Asia" Special section: Ecological knowledge in Asia edited by Shubhra Gururani & Peter Vandergeest Conservation & Society 12(4): 343-51.

2010 "Fostering Community, Instituting Neoliberal Natures in the Forests of Uttarakhand, India." Under Review

2009 “Troubled Nature”: Some Reflections on the Changing Nature of the Millennial City (Gurgaon), India. In The Natural City: Re-Envisioning the Built Environment. Ingrid Stefanovic and Stephen Scharper (Eds.) University of Toronto Press. Toronto.

2009 “Gendered Geographies: Women and the Making of Utttarakhand, India.” Under Review

2002 “Constructions of Third World Women’s Knowledge in the Development Discourse.” International Social Science Journal. Special Issue on Indigenous Knowledges. No. 173. September.

2002 “Forests of Pleasure and Pain: Gendered Practices of Labor and Livelihood in the Forests of Kumaon Himalayas, India.” Gender, Place, and Culture. Volume 9, No.3.

2000 “Regimes of Control, Strategies of Access: Practices of Property and Community in Uttarakhand Himalayas, India.” In Agrarian Environments: Resources, Representations, and Rule in India. Arun Agrawal & K. Sivaramakrishnan (Eds.) Duke University Press. Durham, NC.

1997 “The ‘New Traditionalist’ Discourse of Indian Environmentalism." Journal of Peasant Studies with Subir Sinha and Brian Greenberg. Volume 24, No. 3, April 1997. pp. 65 - 99.

Approach To Teaching

At the graduate level, I will be teaching Anthropology 5190/ Sociology 6315/ Geography 5325 ANTH Cultural Politics of the Environment and Development. The central question that guides this graduate seminar is: what constitutes environmental politics, locally and globally? Closely related to this are the questions: what constitutes nature/s, how is such a profoundly unstable entity called nature produced and reproduced in everyday life, what are the symbolic and material contestations that underlie the politics of nature and (re)make nature, how are meanings assigned, and nature remembered, in diverse yet historically and geographically specific ways. In the last decade, there has been a vast body of writings on the politics of nature, broadly conceived, and encompasses a range of theoretical perspectives. While ‘political ecology’ has emerged as the new eclectic constellation of theoretical approaches, it too has its limitations and is embroiled in some of the fundamental essentialisms that inform the debates on natures. In this course, in order to move away from an understanding of ‘natures’ as a mere social, political, and economic backdrop, we will draw on recent debates in cultural geography, anthropology, cultural studies, and science studies and adopt a cultural politics perspective that explores how hybrids of nature and culture variously called ‘socionatures’ or ‘cybernatures’ are discursively constituted. Given that there are competing interpretations and often very high and multiple stakes in understanding/representing environmental loss, claims, and knowledges, the questions of identity, territory, and meanings have increasingly become central to the cultural politics of environment and development. Attentive to the historical, political economic, and cultural discourses and practices that constitute these environmental contestations, the emphasis in the course will be to look at the struggles over nature as struggles over place, identity, meanings, representations, and livelihoods. At the undergraduate level, I will teach ANTH 4440 3.0 The Anthropology of the City.


My areas of research are critical political ecologies, space and place, postcolonial development, and histories of science and nature. Interested primarily in exploring the co-production of nature, gender, race, and place, I have conducted fieldwork in the Indian Himalayas, namely Uttarakhand and examined how long and complex histories of science and colonialism produce ‘nature’ as a contested space of meanings, identities, knowledges, and social movements.


My areas of research are critical political ecologies, space and place, postcolonial development, and histories of science and nature. Interested primarily in exploring the co-production of nature, gender, race, and place, I have conducted fieldwork in the Indian Himalayas, namely Uttarakhand and examined how long and complex histories of science and colonialism produce ‘nature’ as a contested space of meanings, identities, knowledges, and social movements. More recently, I have begun work on a new project, which maps the unfolding processes and politics of (sub)urbanization in India. It focuses on Gurgaon, the Millennial City of India, which lies just outside of New Delhi. Bustling with shopping malls, shiny office towers, luxury apartment enclaves, IT complexes, and countless construction sites, Gurgaon stands as an urban spectacle. Interested in understanding how cities of the global south are being shaped in this particular neoliberal moment, my attempt is to map a history of urban planning or non-planning and examine the unfolding politics of infrastructure 'provisions.' Current Research 1. Global suburbanisms: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century. SSHRC-MCRI Project. Co-applicant This multi-year project brings together a interdisciplinary team of researchers from around the world and maps the processes, practices, and politics of suburbanization as it unfolds in different forms. Exploring the gated communities of the global north as well as the slums and suburbs of the south, the project through diverse methodologies takes stock of worldwide suburban developments while analyzing their governance models, land use, infrastructure and suburban everyday life. I will be the Project Lead for South Asia as well as Waste and Sewage themes. Students interested in these or related issues are encouraged to contact me. 2. Changing Urban Frontiers: The Case of Gurgaon, India This research project explores the changing frontiers of urbanization in India. In particular, it focuses on the politcs of urban governance with special reference to wastewater and sewage management in Gurgaon 3. Nature Matters: Articulations of Nature, Place, and Gender in Uttarakhand Himalayas, India. In looking through ethnographic and historical lenses, this research project explores how the colonial discourses and practices of ‘conserving,’ ‘disciplining,’ and ‘improving’ nature (and people) have left lasting legacies that not only inform contemporary cultural politics of labor and livelihood but also the surveillance and managerial practices of the Indian state. It draws from feminist and post-colonial theory, political ecology, and critical race theory and crosses disciplinary boundaries of cultural geography, anthropology, women studies, and environmental studies. 4. Live Stock: When Humans, Cattle, Hybrids, and Jerseys Meet in Kumaon Himalayas, India. This project addresses how anthropology can draw on and develop further the ‘more-than-human’ analytics for understanding the society/nature relationship and focuses its attention to the cattle in the Himalayas. It considers the non-human, and particularly the animal, as a serious matter of concern and views it as constitutive of social and political networks of everyday life. 5. Neoliberal Natures This project examines the neoliberal shifts in environmental governance, namely participatory forestry, microplanning, and community based management. Related to this work, I am currently involved in a Major Collaborative Research Initiative on "The Mobilization of Knowledge in Ecologies on the Edge." For this project, I will be working with a wide network of scholars from around the world to examine how new forms of knowledge production and circulation, namely through monitoring and certification systems are producing a new politics of knowledge and practices of ecological governance. I will be focusing in the Himalayas. Students interested in the area encouraged to contact me.


All Publications

Books

2014 "Ethnographies of the Political: Honouring Malcolm Blinco" Special section edited by Shubhra Gururani & Karl Schmid Anthropologica 57(1).

2014 "Gender in the Himalaya: Cultural Politics of Gendered Identity, Place, and Positionality" Special Section: Gender in the Himalaya edited by Kim Berry & Shubhra Gururani Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 34(1): 36-42.

2014 "Geographies that Make Resistance”: Remapping the Politics of Gender and Place in Uttarakhand, India" Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 34(1): 68-79.

2014 "Introduction: New Frontiers of Ecological Knowledge: Co-producing Knowledge and Governance in Asia" Special section: Ecological knowledge in Asia edited by Shubhra Gururani & Peter Vandergeest Conservation & Society 12(4): 343-51.

2010 "Fostering Community, Instituting Neoliberal Natures in the Forests of Uttarakhand, India." Under Review

2009 “Troubled Nature”: Some Reflections on the Changing Nature of the Millennial City (Gurgaon), India. In The Natural City: Re-Envisioning the Built Environment. Ingrid Stefanovic and Stephen Scharper (Eds.) University of Toronto Press. Toronto.

2009 “Gendered Geographies: Women and the Making of Utttarakhand, India.” Under Review

2002 “Constructions of Third World Women’s Knowledge in the Development Discourse.” International Social Science Journal. Special Issue on Indigenous Knowledges. No. 173. September.

2002 “Forests of Pleasure and Pain: Gendered Practices of Labor and Livelihood in the Forests of Kumaon Himalayas, India.” Gender, Place, and Culture. Volume 9, No.3.

2000 “Regimes of Control, Strategies of Access: Practices of Property and Community in Uttarakhand Himalayas, India.” In Agrarian Environments: Resources, Representations, and Rule in India. Arun Agrawal & K. Sivaramakrishnan (Eds.) Duke University Press. Durham, NC.

1997 “The ‘New Traditionalist’ Discourse of Indian Environmentalism." Journal of Peasant Studies with Subir Sinha and Brian Greenberg. Volume 24, No. 3, April 1997. pp. 65 - 99.


Teaching:

Approach To Teaching

At the graduate level, I will be teaching Anthropology 5190/ Sociology 6315/ Geography 5325 ANTH Cultural Politics of the Environment and Development. The central question that guides this graduate seminar is: what constitutes environmental politics, locally and globally? Closely related to this are the questions: what constitutes nature/s, how is such a profoundly unstable entity called nature produced and reproduced in everyday life, what are the symbolic and material contestations that underlie the politics of nature and (re)make nature, how are meanings assigned, and nature remembered, in diverse yet historically and geographically specific ways. In the last decade, there has been a vast body of writings on the politics of nature, broadly conceived, and encompasses a range of theoretical perspectives. While ‘political ecology’ has emerged as the new eclectic constellation of theoretical approaches, it too has its limitations and is embroiled in some of the fundamental essentialisms that inform the debates on natures. In this course, in order to move away from an understanding of ‘natures’ as a mere social, political, and economic backdrop, we will draw on recent debates in cultural geography, anthropology, cultural studies, and science studies and adopt a cultural politics perspective that explores how hybrids of nature and culture variously called ‘socionatures’ or ‘cybernatures’ are discursively constituted. Given that there are competing interpretations and often very high and multiple stakes in understanding/representing environmental loss, claims, and knowledges, the questions of identity, territory, and meanings have increasingly become central to the cultural politics of environment and development. Attentive to the historical, political economic, and cultural discourses and practices that constitute these environmental contestations, the emphasis in the course will be to look at the struggles over nature as struggles over place, identity, meanings, representations, and livelihoods. At the undergraduate level, I will teach ANTH 4440 3.0 The Anthropology of the City.