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Doctoral Project

Political Ecology of Large Dams in India and China 
Ravi Baghel (M.A.)

Of the over 45,000 large dams (higher than 15 m) worldwide, most exist in Asia, and China and India are two of the three most prolific dam-building countries of the world. Large dams have evoked controversial discussions about development paths, effectiveness, environmental consequences, and social justice. After decolonisation, widespread construction of large dams started in the countries of the South. Such gigantic technological hydroscapes continue to symbolise the human dominance over nature, as icons of modernity
and national prestige. These dams often generate massive resistance from adversely affected people and Non-Governmental Organisations.
This project is based upon a post-structural political ecology approach to understanding this opposition to large dams. Such an approach focuses on the social, political, economic, and discursive context, through which large dams are produced. As human-environmental interactions are mediated by knowledge, this project aims to analyse, how discourses critical of large dams are arrived at, and how the asymmetry of knowledge production is addressed by dam opponents.