gururani


Shubhra Gururani

Photo of Shubhra Gururani

Department of Anthropology

Associate Professor
Chair
Undergraduate Program Director

Office: Vari Hall, 2054
Phone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 77787
Email: gururani@yorku.ca
Primary website: Prof. Shubhra Gururani
Secondary website: Department of Anthropology

Accepting New Graduate Students


I am the Chair and Undergraduate Program Director of the Department of Anthropology. I have formerly served as the Associate Director of York Center for Asian Research, Interim Director of the CITY Institute, and the Coordinator of the South Asian Studies Program. My areas of research and teaching lie at the intersection of critical political ecologies, space and place, urban transformation, especially in the Global South, agrarian change, postcolonial development, and histories of science and nature. My earlier research was based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Indian Himalayas, namely Uttarakhand, and examined how long and complex histories of scientific forestry and colonialism produced the highly gendered landscape of labor, access, and knowledge. My current research focuses on the processes and politics of agrarian-urban changes in the peripheries of metropolitan centers in India. I am currently working on my book manuscript on the making of India's Millennial City, Gurgaon.

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My research and teaching lie at the intersection of anthropology and geography. My areas of research broadly are critical political ecologies, space and place, neoliberal urbanism especially in the cities of the Global South, agrarian change, politics of land, caste, postcolonial development, and histories of science and nature. I am interested in examing how the social-spatial categories of nature, gender, race/caste, property, and place are coproduced in the context of late capitalism. I have conducted extensive fieldwork in the Indian Himalayas, namely Uttarakhand and through ethnographic and historical lenses, examined how the colonial discourses and practices of ‘conserving,’ ‘disciplining,’ and ‘improving’ nature (and people) have left lasting legacies that not only inform the contemporary cultural politics of labor and livelihood but also shape the surveillance and managerial practices of the Indian state.

Over the last decade, I have been working 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.'

I was a co-applicant of the Global suburbanisms: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century. SSHRC-MCRI Project. This multi-year project brought together an 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 was 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.

I am currently working on two projects. The first one, Agrarian Urbanization: Emerging entanglements of Land, Labour, and Capital, is a collaborative project. It revives a question that has been of interest to scholars in development studies, agrarian studies, and urban studies for a few decades now: what is the relationship between processes of capitalist urbanization and agrarian change? How are agrarian and urban political economies and ecologies of land, labour, and capital linked in an extricable relationship with one another? The second one, "Life and Death of Urban Nature: Political Ecology of Land and Water in India’s urbanizing peripheries," focuses on the ‘disappearance’ of lakes and water bodies in the city of Gurgaon, India. In exploring it as a social-spatial-ecological event that makes the imbrications of social, natural, human, and non-human relations evident, the project examines the new registers of value that have come to circulate in this social-spatial moment of capitalist urbanization.

Degrees

PhD, Anthropology, Syracuse University
MPhil, Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
MSc, Anthropology, University of Delhi
BSc (Hons) Zoology, Hindu College, University of Delhi

Appointments

Faculty of Graduate Studies

Professional Leadership

I am the Chair and Undergraduate Program Director of the Department of Anthropology. I have formerly served as the Associate Director of York Center for Asian Research, Interim Director of the CITY Institute, and the Coordinator of the South Asian Studies Program.

Research Interests

Anthropology , Global/Climate Change, Peripheral Urbanization, Cities of the South , Space and Place, Political Ecology, Property, Commons, , India, South Asia
Books

Publication
Year

2018 Special Issue. Frontier Urbanism: Urbanisation Beyond Cities in South Asia. Co-
edited with Rajarshi Dasgupta. Review of Urban Affairs. Economic and Political
Weekly. Volume 53. Issue No. 12. March 24.

2018

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.


Journal Articles

Publication
Year

Shubhra Gururani (2019) Cities in a world of villages: agrarian urbanism and the making of India’s urbanizing frontiers, Urban Geography, DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2019.1670569

2019

Approach to Teaching


At the graduate level, I teach 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.


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 AP/ANTH4130 6.0 A The Professional Anthropologist SEMR


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 AP/ANTH4130 6.0 A The Professional Anthropologist SEMR


I am the Chair and Undergraduate Program Director of the Department of Anthropology. I have formerly served as the Associate Director of York Center for Asian Research, Interim Director of the CITY Institute, and the Coordinator of the South Asian Studies Program. My areas of research and teaching lie at the intersection of critical political ecologies, space and place, urban transformation, especially in the Global South, agrarian change, postcolonial development, and histories of science and nature. My earlier research was based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Indian Himalayas, namely Uttarakhand, and examined how long and complex histories of scientific forestry and colonialism produced the highly gendered landscape of labor, access, and knowledge. My current research focuses on the processes and politics of agrarian-urban changes in the peripheries of metropolitan centers in India. I am currently working on my book manuscript on the making of India's Millennial City, Gurgaon.

My research and teaching lie at the intersection of anthropology and geography. My areas of research broadly are critical political ecologies, space and place, neoliberal urbanism especially in the cities of the Global South, agrarian change, politics of land, caste, postcolonial development, and histories of science and nature. I am interested in examing how the social-spatial categories of nature, gender, race/caste, property, and place are coproduced in the context of late capitalism. I have conducted extensive fieldwork in the Indian Himalayas, namely Uttarakhand and through ethnographic and historical lenses, examined how the colonial discourses and practices of ‘conserving,’ ‘disciplining,’ and ‘improving’ nature (and people) have left lasting legacies that not only inform the contemporary cultural politics of labor and livelihood but also shape the surveillance and managerial practices of the Indian state.

Over the last decade, I have been working 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.'

I was a co-applicant of the Global suburbanisms: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century. SSHRC-MCRI Project. This multi-year project brought together an 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 was 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.

I am currently working on two projects. The first one, Agrarian Urbanization: Emerging entanglements of Land, Labour, and Capital, is a collaborative project. It revives a question that has been of interest to scholars in development studies, agrarian studies, and urban studies for a few decades now: what is the relationship between processes of capitalist urbanization and agrarian change? How are agrarian and urban political economies and ecologies of land, labour, and capital linked in an extricable relationship with one another? The second one, "Life and Death of Urban Nature: Political Ecology of Land and Water in India’s urbanizing peripheries," focuses on the ‘disappearance’ of lakes and water bodies in the city of Gurgaon, India. In exploring it as a social-spatial-ecological event that makes the imbrications of social, natural, human, and non-human relations evident, the project examines the new registers of value that have come to circulate in this social-spatial moment of capitalist urbanization.

Degrees

PhD, Anthropology, Syracuse University
MPhil, Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
MSc, Anthropology, University of Delhi
BSc (Hons) Zoology, Hindu College, University of Delhi

Appointments

Faculty of Graduate Studies

Professional Leadership

I am the Chair and Undergraduate Program Director of the Department of Anthropology. I have formerly served as the Associate Director of York Center for Asian Research, Interim Director of the CITY Institute, and the Coordinator of the South Asian Studies Program.

Research Interests

Anthropology , Global/Climate Change, Peripheral Urbanization, Cities of the South , Space and Place, Political Ecology, Property, Commons, , India, South Asia

All Publications


Books

Publication
Year

2018 Special Issue. Frontier Urbanism: Urbanisation Beyond Cities in South Asia. Co-
edited with Rajarshi Dasgupta. Review of Urban Affairs. Economic and Political
Weekly. Volume 53. Issue No. 12. March 24.

2018

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.


Journal Articles

Publication
Year

Shubhra Gururani (2019) Cities in a world of villages: agrarian urbanism and the making of India’s urbanizing frontiers, Urban Geography, DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2019.1670569

2019

Approach to Teaching


At the graduate level, I teach 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.


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 AP/ANTH4130 6.0 A The Professional Anthropologist SEMR


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 AP/ANTH4130 6.0 A The Professional Anthropologist SEMR