Taking Nature to Court in India

Taking Nature to Court in India

Monday, March 7, 2016
CEIAS
Room 640, 6th floor
190 Avenue de France, 75013 Paris

 

balance[From the programme:] This is the second of a set of three workshops on the project Taking Nature to the Court: Development projects, protected areas and religious reform in South Asia. The project follows up an idea initially developed in the ANR programme Justice and Governance in Contemporary India and South Asia (http://just-india.net/) according to which the study of court cases might help our understanding of crucial social and political stakes. In this new project we focus on how certain issues related to nature and the environment, and which also involve ritual practices or religious notions, are brought before the court and how they take on a legal expression. Environmental issues and the relationship between religion and ecology have been extensively studied, especially in Indianist works. However, the originality of our approach lies in addressing these questions through the study of court cases, investigating the logic of legal files, and the discourses employed by actors in these petitions, both the official and legal discourses and their unofficial aspects. Although some cases, such as the Bhopal disaster or pollution of the Ganges have been analyzed, we wish to focus our attention on less well-known examples, less national in scale, on more local situations which combine jurisdictions at different levels ranging from international law to customary rights. In the cases studied, the concept of ‘nature’ takes on particular importance. It becomes not only the object of a legal definition in the court but also in the discourse of the persons concerned, a question of ‘cultural and religious heritage’.

Full project: http://ceias.ehess.fr/index.php?3365
First meeting: http://just-india.net/?q=node/252

 
Programme:

9.30 a.m.: Coffee and Welcome

10.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.:
The Mark of the Beast: Identifying, Hunting and Conserving ‘man-eating’ big cats in India
Nayanika Mathur, (University of Cambridge)
Discussant: Frédéric Landy (University Paris-Ouest Nanterre)

‘The Water, Forest, and Land Belong to Us.’ Caste, Property, and India’s Forest Right Act
Ananda Vaidya (University of Bergen)
Discussant: Jean-Luc Racine (CNRS, CEIAS)

12.30 – 2 p.m.: lunch break

2.00 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.:
De-exceptionalising disasters: a Central Himalayan flood in historical and political context
Radhika Govindrajan (University of Washington)
Discussant: Anthony Good (University of Edinburgh)

Finding a just place for Gods: Debates on culture, ecology and economic growth in Indian courts
Manju Menon (Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi) and Kanchi Kohli (Independent Researcher)
Discussant: Jean-Claude Galey (EHESS, CEIAS)

 
The full programme, with abstracts, can be downloaded here.

 


Nicolas Sihlé

Nicolas Sihlé, a sociocultural anthropologist, is researcher at the Center for Himalayan Studies, a research unit of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) based in Villejuif (France). He specializes on Tibetan religion and society, and is the author of Rituels bouddhiques de pouvoir et de violence : La figure du tantriste tibétain [Buddhist rituals of power and violence : The figure of the Tibetan tantrist] (Brepols, 2013). His current work focuses on post-Mao socioreligious transitions in and around the famous communities of non-monastic specialists of tantric Buddhism in northeast Tibet (Amdo), and more generally on the comparative anthropology of Buddhism.

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