Shubhra Gururani
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Current Graduate Students



Karl Schmid - Dissertation Title: Losing Your Place Tourism and the Making of Enclaves in
                       Luxor, Egypt. (Completed November 2006.)
                       Current Position. Lecturer. York University.

Aimee Whitefoot (Social Anthropology)

Joanne Lebert (Social Anthopology)




Alicia Grimes (Social Anthropology)

Alicia is a PhD student studying under the supervision of Shubhra Gururani. Her research focuses on the cultural politics of fair trade coffee production and the challenges producers face in organizing into institutionally regulated cooperatives. Alicia plans to conduct her fieldwork in Peru. Her extra-curricular interests include photography, dance, regular dental hygiene, and savouring a variety of delectable cheeses.



Jaime Yard (Social Anthropology)

Jaime Yard is a doctoral candidate in the department of Anthropology at York University. Her dissertation in progress, "Interrupting Wilderness:

Un-Settling the Social-Natural Landscape of British Columbia,” is an ethnography of the changing discursive and material construction of nature on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, an area undergoing a large-scale economic base shift from logging, fishing and mining to recreational/retirement property development.






Radhika Johari (Social Anthropology)

My doctoral research explores how environmental perceptions and practices have been shaped at the interface of past and current paradigms of conservation and resource-based livelihoods development in the Indian mountain state of Himachal Pradesh. Focusing specifically on a bilaterally funded project in Kangra District, it critically examines articulations of conservation and livelihoods development by diverse agents and institutions withinthe project and contextualizes them within a wider framework ofhistorical and contemporary resource management and property regimes in this area. By following representations, pathways, and sites of environmental governance and development within donor and governmental agencies, as well as participating NGOs in the project, my research demonstrates how conservation and enterprise-building initiatives have been contoured conceptually and in practice by an increasingly influential paradigm of neoliberal governmentality and development over the last two decades. It explores how this paradigm has structured project interventions aimed at fostering autonomous, responsible, and self-regulating market and environmental citizens, and how in turn these have been refracted by a historically embedded politics of identity and place in ways that have had important consequences for social and environmental relations in this region. Through its identification and exploration of these points of refraction, my research provides a grounded critique of prevailing efforts to foster a convergence of conservation and resource-based livelihoods, and the reasons for their disjunctures in practice.



Khairul Chowdhury (Social Anthropology)


I am a faculty member of Social Science, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh.

I am currently completing PhD Dissertation on “Environmental Government and Social Movements in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: Cultural Politics of Place, Property, and Nature” in the Department of Social Anthropology at York University. Previously I did MSS in Sociology from the University of Dhaka (1994) and MA in Sociology from Dalhousie University (2002). Broadly my research interest is the politics and the production of differences including race, ethnicity, environment, gender and class. I am also interested in colonialism in South Asia and more specifically Bangladesh politics.




Robert Snyder (Social Anthropology)


Robert is both a PhD candidate and Vice President of Programs that the U.S. based Island Institute in mid-coast Maine. As Vice President of Programs at the Island Institute, Robert is responsible for cultivating innovative and entrepreneurial responses to complex and interconnected community needs in Maine’s island and remote-coastal communities. Robert's background is in cultural anthropology, and his research has focused on the cultural politics of natural resource management, commodity chain and network analysis, and the critique of community development. He has conducted research on these topics in Maine, the Rocky Mountain states, Quepos, Costa Rica and Yunnan, China. Robert's dissertation research focuses on the cultural politics of restoring fisheries in New England. To learn  more please visit




Committee Membership

Mary Gaudet (Social Anthropology)

Susan McNaughton (Social Anthropology)


Keith Barney (Geography)

I am a doctoral student at York Geography, working under the guidance of professors Philip Kelly, Peter Vandergeest and Shubhra Gururani. In terms of background, my Masters field research focused on local resource tenure and displacement issues associated with industrial plantation forestry projects in Sarawak, Malaysia and eastern Thailand, drawing on a critical political ecology perspective. Major research funding in Malaysia was provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Tree Link project, and in Thailand through the York University Centre for Refugee Studies project investigating the “Ethics of Development-Induced Displacement: The Nature and Extent of Canada's Obligations in Developing Countries.”

My current academic interests represent a continuation of these themes, working at the interface between international political economy and post-structuralist approaches to Third World development and environment issues, viewed through an optic of the geographical production of space and scale. I am interested in linking analysis of global natural resource commodity networks (the East Asian plantations and pulp sectors); with ongoing state/donor forestry and tenure reforms; and ethnographic approaches to understanding transformations in local resource tenure and access, rural livelihoods and identity, and agrarian transformation. On the ground in Southeast Asia, this entails village-based research on the increasing integration of rural and upland smallholders into a more market-based economy, and the associated reorganizations of rural territories and people through which this is attempted. My research takes me from the major forestry companies in Southeast Asia, to various state government departments, to development bank and donor agency offices, and to rural and upland communities in places such as Sarawak, Thailand, and Laos. There is rarely a dull moment!



MA Candidates


Radha Shah (Social Anthropology)

Ryan Johnston (Social Anthropology)

Preethy Sivakumar (Social Anthropology)


Committee Membership

Andrew Parach (Social Anthropology)

Brandon Wee (Social Anthropology)

Completed Supervisions

Jessica Trinier. Research Paper Title: Interrogating the Intersection: Productive Difference and
Nature as Agent in the Cree-Environment, Alliance of the Great Whale Campaign
(1989 - 1994). (MRP Completed in May 2007).
Radhika Johari. Thesis Title: Of Sacntions and Sanctuary-Making: The cultural Politics of
Nature in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India, 1850-2000. (M.A. Thesis completed May 2003)
Nadia Ejaz. Thesis Title: Legal Interventions: Race, Space, and Legal Aid in the New South
Africa.” (M.A. Thesis, completed July 2003)
1998 - 2000 Irma Molina, “Viva Zapata! Envisioning Social Change In Chiapas, Mexico.” (M.A.
Thesis, completed November 2000)
1997 - 99 Anke Schwittay, “An Indigenous Land Struggle In Northwestern Argentina.” (M.A.
Thesis, completed August 1999)
1997 – 99 Jackie Esmonde, “Neoliberalism, Youth Poverty and Washing Windshields in
Toronto.” (M.A. Thesis, completed August 1999)








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