An abstract of the book, as well as bios of our panelists, is given below.
This book is an ethnographic study of the processes of agrarian change in the Malwa region of central India, over the last forty years. It argues that both, techno-managerial ways of understanding and evaluating agriculture, as well as those which emphasize the lenses of caste, class and gender, are inadequate in capturing the diverse processes at work in shaping the lives of rural people. By showing how people and things have reconfigured each other in producing the world they live in, this book suggests that both, the social and the technical, must be considered together to understand the specific trajectories of agrarian change and the possibilities of rural transformation.
Richa Kumar is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Policy Studies in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Delhi. Her current research is on the impact of monoculture farming on farm systems, the environment and human health. She is a recipient of the New India Fellowship and is a member of the Network of Rural and Agrarian Studies (NRAS). She completed her Ph.D. from the Science, Technology and Society Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA.
Suman Sahai, who has had a distinguished scientific career in the field of genetics, is a recipient of the Padma Shri, the Borlaug Award, Outstanding Woman Achiever awards, the Birbal Sahni Gold Medal and the Order of the Golden Ark. She is founder Chairperson of the Gene Campaign which is a leading research and advocacy organization, working on issues relating to food, nutrition and livelihoods. She has published extensively on science and policy issues and is a member of several national policy forums on scientific research and education, biodiversity and environment, biotechnology and bioethics as well as intellectual property rights.
Harish Damodaran is Rural Affairs and Agriculture Editor of The Indian Express. A journalist with over 25 years of experience, much of which has been devoted to farm reporting, Harish has also previously worked with The Hindu Business Line and the Press Trust of India. Besides, he has been the author of India's New Capitalists: Caste, Business and Industry in a Modern Nation (Permanent Black/Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and is currently working on a business biography of a tycoon who headed India's third largest industrial house at the time of Independence.
Surinder S. Jodhka is Professor of Sociology at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is also an affiliate Senior Fellow at the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences, New Delhi. He researches on different dimensions of social inequalities – old and new – and the processes of their reproduction. His publications include Interrogating India's Modernity (ed. OUP 2013); Caste: Oxford India Short Introductions (OUP 2012); Village Society (ed. Orient Blackswan 2012); Community and Identities: Contemporary Discourses on Culture and Politics in India (ed. Sage 2001). He is among the first recipients of the ICSSR-Amartya Sen Award for Distinguished Social Scientists, for the year 2012.