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William Fisher, associate professor of anthropology and social studies at Harvard University, teaches courses on contemporary social movements, religion, identity and violence, and the politics of development. His recent publications include Fluid Boundaries: Forming and Transforming Identity in Central Nepal(forthcoming 1998, Columbia University Press); "Doing Good? The Politics and Anti-Politics of NGO Practices" in the Annual Review of Anthropology (1997), and Toward Sustainable Development? Struggling Over India's Narmada River (editor, M. E. Sharpe 1995).

 

Abstract of paper given at Hinduism and Ecology conference:
Sacred Rivers, Sacred Dams: Visions of Social Justics and Sustainable Development along the Narmada

This paper explores the conflicting arguments and visions of those involved in the struggle over the damming of the Narmada River. Visions of the Narmada as goddess, homeland, or development resource serve as the basis of conflicting moral arguments for social justice and sustainable development.

Abstract of paper given at Indigenous Traditions and Ecology conference:
The Politicization of "Indigenous" Identity and Knowledge in South Asia

Two examples -- the Janajati movement in Nepal and the movement against the damming of the Narmada River in western India -- will be used by Suresh Ale Magar and William Fisher to frame their analyses of the ways in which the knowledge and identity of local, marginalized populations in South Asia have been politicized, appropriated, or distorted by different actors and under varying circumstances. These processes of politicization, appropriation, or misrepresentation are facilitated, in part, as the discourse of "indigenous" political assertions is constrained by vocabulary that idealizes, disparages, or otherwise distorts the relationships local people have with their environments and their neighbors.

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