A scholar of modern South Asian history, environmental history, and the history of anthropology, much of my work engages with the experiences of indigenous peoples in modernity, and global debates over the relationship between biological and cultural diversity. In particular, the concept of “endangerment” has become a unifying strand throughout my body of work to date. My research thus explores historical discourses and policies that project biological and cultural diversity as similarly endangered, and in need of similar or simultaneous forms of conservation. Working in western and central India, I collect oral histories of Bhil, Gond, Baiga, Kurku and other adivasi communities facing conservation- and/or development-induced displacement. I then situate these oral histories in dialog with the colonial archive, anthropological accounts, and activist engagements with these communities’ histories - one goal here being to show how people's own perceptions of their histories and life experiences contrast markedly with the meta-narratives of "endangerment" so often produced by outsiders.
The following is a selection of my recent publications:
“Resistance to Hunting in Pre-independence India: Cultural Conservation, Ecological Nationalism or Religious Environmentalism?” Modern Asian Studies. Online Fall 2014. Print 2015.
“Idealizing Inhabited Wilderness: A Revision to the History of Indigenous Peoples in National Parks.” History Compass 12, no. 10 (2014): 818–832.
“Making Subaltern Shikaris: Histories of the Hunted in Colonial Central India.” South Asian History and Culture 5, no. 3 (2014): 292-313.
“Perfumed the Axe that Laid it Low: The Endangerment of Sandalwood in Southern India.” Indian Economic and Social History Review 51, no.1 (March 2014): 41-70.
“Jain Endangerment Discourse.” Economic and Political Weekly 48, no. 49 (7 December 2013): 24-27.