Silent Whispers: Cosmologies, Nature-Human Relationship and Ecological Distress in Northeast India (NEI)
Jointly Organized By
University of Bergen, Norway
University of Oslo, Norway
Special Center for the Study of North East India
(Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
(Funded by Nordic Center in India, NCI)
Venue: Room-344, School of International Studies-II, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
The goal of the project is to bring together PhD-students and researchers from Norway and India who study the Northeast India from perspectives that are at the forefront of scholarly development within the social sciences, as well as at the center of political attention. The relation between human and nature is an important topic that has followed the social sciences and especially anthropology since the inception. However, in the last two decades the question has been radicalized by the ontological turn, posing the question to which degree people inhabit different worlds according to their world-views. Even more important has been the discovery and acknowledgement of indigenous cosmologies as the sources of deep knowledge about the human-nature relation. We should not only study, but also learn it. At the same time, the question of severe and threatening ecological degradation has may be become the most urgent political and scholarly issue, both through accelerating global climate change and a host of threatening local ecological disasters. At the intersection of these two issues, there has arisen the quest for alternatives, or the possibility of envisaging and imagining radical different ways of inhabiting and living in the nature which is not ecological detrimental.
Our project is situated exactly at this intersection. While the ontological turn has been mostly based upon studies of the Amazonia, there is an urgent need to broaden the field and draw upon studies of other regions of the world, both to enrich the scholarly debate, and to increase the political potency and relevance of the perspective. In this context, the Northeast India offers a host of very promising and important cases and examples. In our group, we have PhD-projects on the Northeast that may offer privileged insights to develop the important scholarly debate on the ontological turn and bring it to a new level. At the same time, we have projects clearly demonstrating, and offering deeper insights into, the diverse ecological problems, and threatening disasters of the region.