British Academy

Dr Maan Barua and Dr Joe Gerlach, both Research and Teaching Fellows at the School of Geography and the Environment, have been awarded prestigious British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships for three years beginning in September 2014.

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships offer an opportunity for outstanding early career researchers to strengthen their experience of research and teaching in a university environment which will develop their curriculum vitae and improve their prospects of obtaining permanent lecturing posts by the end of the Fellowship. The primary emphasis is on completion of a significant piece of publishable research, which will be assisted by full membership of an academic community of established scholars working in similar fields.

Dr Maan Barua

Dr Maan Barua

Political animals: rethinking Indian modernity

Dr Maan Barua

Rhesus monkeys

This project grapples with the question: how do people's relations with animals have bearings on Indian modernity? Animals populate imaginations of the nation state, religious and political movements, and urban life in India. Yet, postcolonial studies of Indian modernity neglect human-animal relations. Drawing upon my previous work on more-than-human geographies and current interests in postcolonial thought, 'Political Animals' makes a theoretical departure from ongoing attempts to specify Indian modernity. Focusing on monkeys in India, it provides a critical analysis of animals and postcolonial narratives of the state, popular political movements and urban governance. Interdisciplinary in nature, it seeks to bring ethological methods into ethnographic work - a fresh and risky intervention in the field of human geography that may pay great dividends for going beyond the discipline's adjectival humanism. Political Animals seeks to reverse the anthropocentric bias of postcolonial studies, ultimately opening an interdisciplinary dialogue on how we might cohabit with and govern animals in the Anthropocene.


Dr Joe Gerlach

Dr Joe Gerlach

Excavating the political; mining and micropolitics in Ecuador

Dr Joe Gerlach

Naturaleza

With Ecuador on the precipice of unprecedented ecological and economic transformation, this project is an examination of the state's constitutional experiment with a non-human politics. Given Ecuador's official appeal to the rights of nature, the project will explore the manner in which the notion of nature is conjured, contested and put to political use. With a specific focus on gold mining, the project will also spotlight the affective push of materials to catalyze turbulent political events and sensibilities; space-times that challenge the rush to apply a contrived narrative of 'post-neoliberalism' to the current situation in Ecuador.