NIAS Wednesday Discussion- Ms. Shubhangi Srivastava will speak on "Sensing the city: nonhuman lifeworlds”
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Title: Sensing the city: nonhuman lifeworlds
Speaker: Shubhangi Srivastava
Ph.D. Scholar, NIAS
Chair: Sayan Banerjee
Ph.D. Scholar, NIAS
Date & Time: 18 November 2020 at 4.00 PM
Nonhuman animals have co-inhabited the cities with humans for epochs creating their own lifeworlds and manoeuvring the city adapting to the processes of urbanisation. A holistic understanding of the urban would require one to observe both humans and nonhumans as they interact with each other and the environment. Yet, scholarly studies on the urban in the fields of anthropology and geography have only recently begun to consider animals not only as resources (material or symbolic) for human societies but as active participants. Through examples of rhesus macaques in Shimla and street dogs in Delhi, this paper urges to think about the urban as a shared space with humans and nonhumans existing co-dependently, creating separate yet interactive niches. In the case of rhesus macaque, I study the urban environment as influenced by religious, socio-cultural and political processes of urbanisation. Through an etho-ethnography (combining behavioural observations and ethnography) of the dogs in the streets, this paper aims to understand how animals configure the world around them, their everyday living, what responses they elicit in humans and to what effect, and how dogs sense the city and inhabit it? Moreover, I discuss through these everyday examples the methodological approaches to study human-and other-than-human interactions, drawing from both the natural and social sciences.
About the Speaker:
Shubhangi Srivastava is currently a doctoral candidate with the Urban Ecologies project at National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru. She is interested in studying the ecological, political and socio-economic dimensions related to human-dog relationship in the context of urban India. She has been studying nonhuman lives in the urban and their interactions with humans for the past three years. She developed her interest in human-animal relations during the course of her M.Phil. in Anthropology from University of Delhi, where she worked on the human-macaque conflicts in Shimla, looking at the cultural and religious aspects of the relationship. Shubhangi has a background in Anthropology from Hans Raj College (DU) where she completed her Masters with a dissertation on the maternal health among the Dangi women in Rajasthan. She is also interested in environmental anthropology, kinship studies and archaeology.