October 29, 2014

"Want and Waste: Poverty as Geography in India's Cities" Lecture Q&A

Majed Akhter, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, discusses Vinay Gidwani's upcoming lecture on the politics of food and agriculture in the developing country context. Akhter co-organized the event with Dr. Michael Dodson.

How will Gidwani’s lecture reflect the themes of Themester 2014?
Gidwani's lecture will focus on the livelihood strategies of one of the most marginalized populations in India: informal waste-pickers. Drawing on his ethnographic research, Gidwani will illustrate how and why the connections  between agricultural hardship, rural-urban migration, and getting by in an urban context characterizes the experiences of many Indian waste-pickers.  

What is the value of the lecture to students?
The value of the lecture lies in its potential to prompt students to think about how eating and drinking is  related to issues of class, agrarian production, and the livelihoods of millions of marginalized populations. Eating and drinking, although experienced at the most local and intimate scales, are truly global processes that should make us think about the relations between cities and farms, as well as the developed and developing worlds.  By focusing on the material and meaningful aspects of "waste", something we all produce and experience, Gidwani will provoke students into thinking more deeply about their own daily practice. 

What is most interesting about Gidwani's work to you?​
The most interesting aspect of Gidwani's work is that it is highly engaged with the latest social theories even while remaining grounded in intense ethnographic and historical research. Gidwani is very adept at drawing from his field observations, interviews, archival sources, government statistics to challenge and advance the most sophisticated social theory being discussed in the social sciences and humanities.

Gidwani's lecture will take place Thursday, November 6th, at 4pm in the IMU's Oak Room.
IU Cinema will then screen Peepli (Live) at 6:30, an Indian black comedy tied to the lecture.

Ashli Hendricks
2014 Intern

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