24 August, 2012

Situating Environmental History

Situating Environmental History

By- Ranjan Chakrabarti (ed)

Concern for the environment is not new; it has always existed. One of the flash points in the inner conflicts within human societies of the past was fuelled by the continuous effort to resolve the legitimate use of the natural world. Nature is one of those spaces where we observe the most intense form of class struggle and power politics—the more privileged control the natural resources. The rapid unfolding of power relations, the rise of new technology to exploit the environment, the growing resource crunch, and a perceived ‘environmental crisis’ have resulted in the development of a new field of study—environmental history, an important gateway to knowledge in general and Environmental Studies in particular.

Situating Environmental History, brings together several eminent scholars who share a common interest in the environmental history of South Asia. The work is divided in four sections. In Section I, Understanding Environmental History, Karl Jacoby, Alok Kumar Ghosh, Arun Bandopadhyay and Archana Prasad contribute to our understanding of environmentalism, its historiography and the role of state legislation and the popular response thereto. In Section II, Communities on the Margin, Vinita Damodaran and Ritajyoti Bandyopadhyay focus on different communities in the periphery lying outside the supposed ‘mainstream’ and their fight for their own perceptions of ‘justice’ and ‘legitimate claims’. In Section III, Colonialism, Post-Colonialism, the State and the Management of Nature, Kaushik Roy, Arabinda Samanta, Amal Das, Sahara Ahmed, Jagdish N. Sinha and Sumit Guha look at the evolution of state policy on environmental questions through different periods of Indian history.

In Section IV, Beyond India, Rita Pemberton, Lawrence Gundersen and Tridib Chakrabarti study environmental issues in the countries beyond India.

Ranjan Chakrabarti, a Fulbright Scholar at Brown University (1994-5) and a Charles Wallace Fellow at SOAS (1997), is one of the earliest scholars in India to unertake research in the environmental and sports history of South Asia. Dr Chakrabarti is currently Professor and Co-ordinator of the UGC Special Assistance Programme on Environmental History of South Asia in the Department of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

ISBN 81-7304-683-2 2007 396p. Rs.995/ Pounds 55 

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