2019 – Heritage

Sukanta Chaudhuri is Professor Emeritus at Jadavpur University. He has been Professor of English at Presidency College, Kolkata and then at Jadavpur University, where he founded the School of Cultural Texts and Records. He has held visitorships at All Souls College, Oxford; St John’s College, Cambridge; the Universities of London, Virginia and Delhi; Loyola University, Chicago; Visva-Bharati; and Jawaharlal Nehru University. His chief fields of specialization are English and European Renaissance studies, textual studies, translation, urban studies and digital humanities. His monographs include Renaissance Pastoral and Its English Developments (Clarendon Press, 1989), Translation and Understanding (OUP, 1999), and The Metaphysics of Text (CUP, 2010). He has edited several texts and collections of essays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Third Arden Shakespeare (2017); a 2-volume Anthology and Companion to English Renaissance Pastoral Poetry (Manchester University Press, 2016-18); and The Cambridge Companion to Rabindranath Tagore (in press). In digital humanities, he was chief co-ordinator of Bichitra, the online Tagore variorum, and director of two projects for the Endangered Archives Programme of the British Library. He was a plenary speaker at the global DH2014 conference. He is currently preparing a computer-based historical dictionary of the Bengali language. He has edited Bichira: The Making of an Online Tagore Variorum (Springer, 2016). He has translated widely from Bengali into English, and from English and Italian into Bengali. He was General Editor of the Oxford Tagore Translations. He writes and campaigns on civic and urban issues, especially in Kolkata, and has edited the two-volume Calcutta: The Living City (OUP, 1990).


Kannan M. is a specialized senior researcher on Contemporary Tamil Language, Literature and History, Translation Studies, Indian Media and Cultural Studies, Dalit Literature and Politics and World Literature at IFP Pondicherry. Since 1991, he has been leading since the research program on contemporary Tamil culture, establishing a collection of sources comprising journals and books in the library of the IFP (French Institute of Pondicherry). This research program functions as a bridge linking the isolated fields of classical Tamil and contemporary Tamil. The studies, conferences, collections and publications taken up by this program, aim to build a Centre for Contemporary Tamil at the IFP. In the framework of this program, Kannan M. has supervised more than 30 doctoral students from India and abroad. He has been on regular lecture-research visits to Belgium, France, and the USA in several universities (University of Namur, Paris III, Sorbonne, INALCO, UC Berkeley, Rutgers University, Princeton, Harvard, etc.). He is an active and founding member of the Historical Atlas program at the IFP. In trying to write a cultural history of contemporary Tamil in India, one is inevitably led to raising the question of sources. There are sources In India, but there is no access or path to them — there is serious lack of “archive fever” (either oral, written, or visual) among the people. His research at the IFP looks into this lacuna in Indian culture and explores the following question: What constitutes an archive in India? The current research entails a return from the sources at hand to the construction of an archive. What kind of process will enable it? How do we make an archive alive in the present context?


Venkat Srinivasan is a visiting researcher and archivist at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India (http://archives.ncbs.res.in/). The team is developing templates to pull archival material into coherent stories, and connect personal stories to established records of a scientific process. Prior to this, he was a research engineer at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University (https://lcls.slac.stanford.edu/overview). He is an independent science writer, with work in The Atlantic and Scientific American online, Nautilus, Aeon, Wired, and the Caravan. This intersection of science journalism, scientific research and history led to probing ways to building diverse science narratives from archival material. 


Roland Wittje is Associate Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras. He has studied physics and history of science at the University of Oldenburg, Germany, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. From 2007 to 2014, Roland taught history of science at the University of Regensburg, Germany. His research interests include history of the physical sciences and engineering in the nineteenth and twentieth century, scientific instruments, university collections, scientific practice, and the history of scientific and technical education. His publications include The Age of Electroacoustics: Transforming Science and Sound (MIT-Press 2016) and Learning by Doing: Instruments and Experiments in the History of Science Teaching (edited with Peter Heering, 2012). Roland was Vice-president of Universeum, European association for academic heritage from 2011 to 2017 and chaired the working group on Recent Heritage of Science in the University. Roland currently works on history of the Indo-German collaboration in establishing IIT Madras between 1956 and 1974. He is also in charge of setting up the historical archive of IIT Madras. As the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras turns 60 years old in 2019, historical files documenting teaching, research and administration, and the lives and activities of students, faculty and employees are in danger of disappearing. During a survey in 2017, conducted with Kumaran Sathasivamn Roland Witthje found large amounts of archival material, much of it of great value for the history and heritage of IIT Madras as well as for the history of science and technology in general. In addition to the records of the central administration and the academic departments and centres, the IIT Madras Historical Archive will collect personal papers of professors and other key actors at IIT Madras. This will be done in collaboration with the oral history interviews that are already conducted by the IIT Madras Heritage Centre (http://heritage.iitm.ac.in/).


Benedetta Zaccarello is a senior researcher at “Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique” (CNRS, France). She works on contemporary philosophy through the study of its manuscript documents and archives. Her research aims at understanding the part played by writing in the process of conceptual creation, believing such approach enables to uncover the existential, historical and cultural foundations of the protean set of thinking practices that form contemporary philosophy. Such dynamic, diachronic and genetic approach of the writing of philosophy has led Benedetta Zaccarello to study the forms, genres, and literary strategies working through abstract texts on the base of archival documents, so to better grasp the epistemic limits, the ambitions and the self-images built up by conceptual research in our contemporary times. After working on Paul Valéry’s manuscripts (of which she has edited within an international research team the Cahiers 1894-1914 for Gallimard publishing house), as well on the manuscripts of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Recherches sur l’usage littéraire du langage, Genève, MetisPresses, 2013), Marguerite Duras and Michel Foucault, Benedetta Zaccarello has started to study emblematic transcultural “mediator” philosophers such as Jan Patočka and Aurobindo Ghose, considering that codes, styles and cultural traditions constantly interact in contemporary philosophical writing. She coordinates with Kannan M. the international seminar “What is an archive in Inda and Europe?”, a collaboration between CEFRES (CNRS-MEAE, Prague) and the French Institute of Pondicherry and she is the principal investigator of the project « AITIA – Archives of International Theory An Intercultural Approach to Theoretical Manuscripts » (2020-2024), an international network financed by CNRS.”

Prof. John Kurien PhD.

Visiting professor at the Azim Premji University, Bangalore

He has a PhD. in Social Sciences and has vast experience in working with the artisanal fishers of Kerala, India. He had started his career as a community organizer with fishers and was involved in their cooperative movement. While working at the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, he was instrumental in organizing an international conference of fish-workers and their supporters in Rome in 1984. It was organized as a parallel event to the UN/FAO World Conference on Fisheries. He is one of the founding members of the International Collective in Support of Fish-workers (ICSF). After retirement from the Centre for Development Studies, he has been working as a visiting professor at the Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India. His areas of interest include natural resource management, common property resource management, collective action and rural organisations (WorldFish 2015).


Dr. V. Geetha PhD.

Independent writer and researcher

She is a scholar, writer, translator, and historian based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Her research areas include caste, gender, Tamil society, and history. Also, she is a publisher and co-director of Tara Books, an internationally renowned publishing house. She has been active in political struggle in Tamil Nadu and various women’s movements in India. Patriarchy (Stree 2007),  Gender (Stree 2002), and Towards a Non-Brahmin Millenium are few of her path breaking works. She has also translated two of Perumal Murugan’s work. Currently, she is researching on works and thoughts of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (Zubaan 2019).


Dr. Vareethiah Konstantine PhD.

Independent writer

He hails from a traditional fishing village from the south of Tamil Nadu. Between 1982 and 2018, he was teaching fisheries and animal sciences at a college near to his hometown. He has traveled the entire coast of the Indian sub-continent and his preferred areas of research includes coastal ecology, fisher folks, and disaster management. He is a famous literary figure in Tamil Nadu and was instrumental in carrying forward a literary movement of/on fishers.


Dr. Karuna DW Miryam PhD.

Visiting professor at the Azim Premji University, Bangalore

She is a historian whose interest lies in social and economic history, particularly in the history of labour in the informal sector. She holds a PhD from the university of Delhi and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford. She has worked on the history of handloom weavers in  South India, wherein she explored the economic restructuring of the industry from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century and the impact it had on different kinds of weavers. Currently, she has extended her research to labour in other industries and services that occupy the informal sector (such as beedi making, tanning, hotel-work). By looking at the complex interactions and conflicts between labour, capital, and the state in these different industries, she hopes to work towards a history of the informal sector as a whole.


Mr. Nityanand Jayaraman

Environmental activist and journalist

He is an environmental journalist and a researcher based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He has a master degree in journalism and was initially working with fishers of North America. He then went and worked as an Asia editor for an European computer magazine. He came back to India in 1994 and was working as a traveling journalist and activist for eight years. It was from then that he started working on industrial pollution, human rights, and social justice. He has been working with the campaign for justice for Bhopal victims since 1996. Currently, he is part of a collective called Vettiver. It campaigns against environmental pollution and human rights abuses of corporates. 


Dr. Denis Vidal PhD.

Lecturer and researcher

He has been teaching at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences – EHESS), the Musée du Quai Branly (History of Collections), and the Université Paris Diderot. Also, he is a statutory member of Unité de recherche Migrations et Sociétés (URMIS), the Université Paris Diderot. He has been researching on India since his doctoral thesis on the worship of local deities in Himachal Pradesh. Few of his works includes archival exploration on a small kingdom of Rajasthan (Sirohi), visual contours on Himalayas, economic organisation of the bazaar, and visual culture of the old city of Delhi. Currently, he is conducting research in collaboration with Dr. Balusubramanian (IFP-Pondicherry) on the artisanal construction of wooden cargo ships in Tamil Nadu.


Mr. Chaitanya Krishna

Co-founder of In Season Fish

He is a wildlife biologist and a co-founder of In Season Fish. This collective works to bring together the love for seafood and the environmental conservation. The key stakeholders that it tries to persuade are restaurants, seafood industries, and the State. The collective uses innovative ways to take this message to larger public like website, virtual and real world techniques (website, https://www.inseasonfish.com/).

On professional front, he has experience in environmental, social, and governance safeguard mechanism. He has skills to develop corporate sustainability policies and frameworks. His other competence includes sustainable finance, corporate sustainability and responsibility, business risk management, and stakeholder engagement. He had received fellowships like the Fulbright Fellowship at Princeton University in 2012 and the Change Your World Fellowship in 2011.


Mr. Sakayam

Writer and entrepreneur

He is a writer and a trader from the Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu. He has been involved in the politics of small scale fishers for the last three decades. He had worked with many scholars and has been a key stakeholder of fishers in the island. He has written a book recently called Kōvañci Caṅkukaḷ (a type of chank) published by Neithal Veli, a collective of writers engaging with fishers and coastal communities .


Mr. Kingston

Fisher and YouTube director

He is an artisanal fisher from the village of Mookaiyur, Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu. He owns a canoe and also works as a labourer at times in trawlers. He is a creative person with excellent knowledge on sea, fishing, and technology. He has been successfully running a YouTube channel called “Uṅkaḷ mīṉavaṉ mūkkaiyūr” (Your fisher from Mookaiyur) over a year with 518,000 subscribers. It brings to light the everyday life of fishers to non-fisher audience. It covers aspects such as labour process, species, ways to fish, experiences of fishers, local history, struggles of fishers, and ways to cook sea food (link to his channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDWy-8Zcv-qr45CfY6-9ebg/featured)


Dr. Nicolas  Bautès PhD.


Nicolas Bautès is working in the field of urban studies, social and political geography. He has a permanent position at the University of Cane-Normandy (France) as a senior lecturer. For the last few months, he took off from regular duties and working as a Research Fellow at the Department of Social Sciences, the French Institute of Pondicherry (UMIFRE 021 CNRS), India. Here, as part of his research, he works with city-makers, looking at politics of heritage, and analyzing social memories of artisans (especially, potters and fishers). In addition, he is acting as a coordinator of the IFP Fishercoast team involved in a research project with fishers of Cuddalore.


Dr. Senthil Babu PhD.

Historian and researcher

He is a historian with the Department of Social Sciences, the French Institute of Pondicherry. His research is oriented towards the historical and contemporary relationship between knowledge practices and labour in India. He also works on the social history of mathematical practices in early modern and colonial south India. He did his PhD. from the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, New Delhi. Some of the other interest areas of him includes the land use practice at the Kaveri deltaic region and the dynamics of nature, knowledge, and labour of fishers at the Coramandel Coast of Tamil Nadu.


Dr. Mehala SA PhD.


She has a PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from the Pondicherry University. Her doctoral work focused on understanding the marginalisation of the community affected with leprosy and the stigma associated with it. She was a recipient of JRF and DAAD fellowships. Her research interests are mainly with the marginalised groups. Currently, she is associated with the Fisher Coast Project as Research Associate working on the impact of industrialization on the well-being of the fishers and in coastal transformation.


Dr. Bhagath Singh A PhD.

Anthropologist and writer

He is a trained anthropologist and had doctoral research on fisheries governance along the Coromandel coast of Tamil Nadu. He has keen interest in documenting social history and cultural practices of the marginalised communities such as Dalits, tribes, and fishers. Currently, he is associated with the Fisher Coast Project and concentrating on heritage and social history of fishers.


Dr. Arun Kumar AS PhD.


He secured his doctoral degree in anthropology from the Pondicherry University and his area of research interest includes media anthropology, social interaction, caste, nationalism, and authoritarianism. He is currently working in the Fisher Coast Project looking at the coastal transformation due to industrialization along the Coromandel coast.


Ms. Kohila Senbagam

Social worker

She is working with the team of Fisher Coast Project focusing on labour, gender and migration. She has experience in trade union movement and labour rights organizations and she holds a masters degree in social work.


Mr. Prabhakar Jayaprakash

Social researcher

He is a doctoral scholar affiliated with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and working with the fishers of Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu, for his doctoral work. Broadly, his work falls within the paradigm of labour history. He has been in working relationship with the team of Fisher Coast Project of IFP for a year or so since they both have common area of interest like histories of fishers and people’s (digital) archive.

Rita Banerji, Project Director of Dusty Foot Productions, is the Winner of multiple Green Oscars. She heads Dusty Foot Productions, a wildlife and environment film-making and communications agency. She has recently started Green Hub – a community and youth-based fellowship, and video documentation centre for work related to the environment and social change in North East India, in collaboration with North East Network. https://www.facebook.com/thegreenhubner/, www.northeastnetwork.org; www.dustyfootindia.com, www.facebook.com/pages/Dusty-Foot-Productions/118489981545808

Dr. Daniele Clavel, Montpellier (France), UMR AGAP is an agronomist from Cirad –Agap (https://umr-agap.cirad.fr/). She has a PhD in Plant breeding and adaptation and a Master in Social Sciences for Development. She conducts multidisciplinary approach between biological and social sciences, interfacing sciences and society, agro biodiversity, farm’s seeds and knowledge based development, gender, links ago biodiversity and  nutrition diversity, Western Africa.  From 1993 to 2003, she worked on groundnut systems in Senegal in the field of plant adaptation to drought. She prepared and coordinated two INCO-DEV (formerly STD) projects related to drought adaptation in Senegal: project N° TS3-CT89-253 (1995-1999) and INCO-DEV project N°CT 2001-10007 “New tools for groundnut aflatoxin control in Sahel Africa”. Since 2005, her work has enlarged on participatory rural innovations and sustainable development in Africa. I coordinated the FP6 INCO Project ‘Agricultural Innovation in Dryland Africa’ (AIDA, 2008-2008), in collaboration with CTA and FARA and 6 African partners (Niger, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda). The AIDA Project investigated the drivers & conditions for the success and sustainability of innovations in Dryland African countries (Niger, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda). Currently she manage the transdisciplinary project DIVA involving plant geneticist,  socio-anthropologists and nutritionist, implemented in the Senegal Valley in collaboration with Enda Pronat (Senegalese NGO) and producers organisations.


Indhubala.K is a research student at CSSS, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her MPhil dissertation dealt with the theoretical question of human-nonhuman relationship, in which it focused on the politics of ‘seed’ and the rise of the organic farming movement in Tamilnadu. She is a part of Tamil student collective in JNU called Tamil Conscience. As a collective, they engage and discuss with the questions of caste, nationalism, social movements, gender, language, federalism and environment with particular reference to Tamil scenario.


Soma Kishore Parthasarathy, sociologist, is an advisor, policy analyst and independent researcher on gender, sustainable development and livelihoods. She is currently self-Employed and coordinates the national networks for women farmers land rights (MAKAAM, http://makaam.in/; CFR LA cfrla.org.in) and Community forest rights (CFR LA). She has a PhD awarded from Dept of Humanities and Social Sciences(HSS), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT B) Mumbai 2018. Her topic was: “Genderscapes and Natural Resource Policy Regimes in Southern Rajasthan : A Feminist Political Ecology Perspective”. She has worked for many organizations as consultant for Collective for Advancement of Women’s land and Livelihoods Rights; for International Land Coalition, Rome, Study on Assessment of Inheritance Rights of Women in South and South East Asia; for IUCN for project on Gender and climate Change in the Indian Himalayas- experiences and strategies; for Action Aid, India for Study on Gender Natural Resources and changing Social Relations, a Case study of Rajasthan, etc. She is also board member and facilitator positions for Sanio Ka Sangathan –Women’s Collective, NGO working on Gender issues, Natural Resource Rights and Women’s organization and for claims of women to decision making and formal spaces in the Van Panchayats of Uttarakhand, 2000-2007; Executive Committee and Governing Body Member of Action India, Grassroots women’s Empowerment Organization working in the slums and resettlement colonies of Delhi, New Delhi 2007-2010. She was or still is on Governing Body: Steering Committee Member of the Water Conflict Forum; National Advisory Group Member for the Mahila Samakhya Program of the Government of India 2012-2015; Gender Coordinator and member of the Community Forest Rights Learning Alliance (CFR LA) a national alliance of  more than 400 partners working on Forest rights; National Facilitation Team (NFT) Member of MAKAAM an alliance of 120 individuals and organizations working to strengthen rights and status  of women Farmers across India.   She is also a Policy Research and Advocacy on different topics such as Gender and Sustainable Development Forest and Land Rights, Gender and Water Rights, Women’s Education and Livelihoods, Gender and Development.


Dr. Matthieu Salpeteur, Matthieu Salpeteur is an anthropologist, researcher at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD). Since 2012 he is engaged with pastoralist communities in Gujarat, looking at the ways pastoralist livelihoods evolve in a fast-changing sociopolitical and environmental context. His research focuses on a range of topics, including the dynamics of local ecological knowledge related to pastoralist activities, the impacts of land use changes on access to grazing areas and mobility, and breeding-related practices and knowledge. He is part of a newly-created network dedicated to the research and communication of facts related to pastoralism in India (Indian Pastoralism Network).


Serlibon Timungpi is working as a movies maker for North East Network and Green hub. She has done numerous participatory films on indigenous life in Northeast Indian context (Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya). She trained the young people and the village women to do documentaries on their livelihood and rural knowledge on nature.

Salome Yesudas, from the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Center for Agrarian Studies, Hyderabad, has worked for more than a decade with bio diverse farmers especially with women at Farm science center at Zahirabad in Telangana. She is a consultant, expert in gender in Water and Nutrition. She has worked with FAO national project Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater systems project in 6 districts of Andhra Pradesh She continue to work as consultant with many organizations in India. She is member of the Nutrition society of India and served IUNS Task Force on Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems and Nutrition, from 2001- 2012. She has visited 25 countries as resource person to train on Food and nutrition insecurity, be key note speaker or participate in international events. She published books, articles and also edited many documentary films with FAO, IDRC, IIED and Down To Earth to mention a few.

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