Shubhra Gururani
Department of
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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.






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