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Ravi Baghel, Dr.

Associate Member

Ravi Baghel, Dr.


Contact information

South Asia Institute
Im Neuenheimerfeld 330
Room 103
69120 Heidelberg

+49 (0) 6221 54 8928
+49 (0) 6221 54 4012

About Ravi Baghel

Dr. Ravi Baghel joined the Cluster in 2008 with a scholarship of the Graduate Programme of Transcultural Studies, and for his PhD (Geography) worked on the role of expert knowledge in human-environmental interactions, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser. His dissertation analyzed  large scale river control projects in India within a framework of Foucauldian political ecology, in close cooperation with a research project on large dams. His work focused on the role of expert knowledge in the transformation of river systems into technological hydroscapes in South Asia. This contemporary analysis was placed within a historical and geographical perspective through an examination of the circulation of the knowledge of river control.

His Masters studies had a focus on Globalisation as part of the Global Studies Programme, and he was awarded an M.A. in Social Sciences by the University of Freiburg, Germany and University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He obtained a B.A. (Honours) degree in Chinese at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 

As a recipient of the DAAD STIBET Teaching Assistantship, he taught the course Introduction to Political Ecologies in the Wintersemester 2010-11.

He is an editor of Transcience- a journal of global studies.

Since 2010, Dr. Baghel is also associated with the Earth System Governance Project (ESGP) as a Research Fellow. The ESGP is one of the six core projects of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP)

His primary research interest is in environmental governance at the regional scale, with a focus on South Asia. Other related fields of interest include the geopolitics of the Himalayan region and Political Ecology. These interests are also reflected in Dr. Baghel's ongoing research on Himalayan Glaciers


Curriculum vitae profile


  • Introduction to political ecologies. (Seminar). Winter 2010/11, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University.
  • Human-environmental interactions in South Asia. Winter 2013/14, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University.
  • Geography of knowledge: Spaces, flows and structures. Summer 2014, Cluster of Excellence: Asia & Europe, Heidelberg University.


Participant in the Anthropocene Curriculum project.

Selected publications

Google Scholar Author Page

Nüsser, M. & Baghel, R. (forthcoming) “Local knowledge and global
concerns: Artificial glaciers as objects of environmental knowledge
and development intervention”. In P. Meusburger (ed.) Ethnic and
Cultural Dimensions of Knowledge
; Series: Knowledge and Space.
Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London and New York: Springer

Baghel, R. (2014) River control in India: Spatial, governmental and subjective dimensions. Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London & New York: Springer

Nüsser, M., & Baghel, R. (2014): The emergence of the cryoscape: contested narratives of Himalayan glacier dynamics and climate change. In B. Schuler (Ed.), Environmental and climate change in South and Southeast Asia: How are local cultures coping? (Climate and Culture Vol. 2) Leiden: Brill. pp. 138-156

Baghel, R. (2014) "Misplaced knowledge: Large dams as an anatopism in South Asia". In M. Nüsser (ed.) Large Dams: Contested Environments Between Technological Hydro-Scapes and Social Resistance; Series: Advances in Asian human-environmental research. Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London & New York: Springer

Baghel, R. (2013) Knowledge, power and the transformation of rivers: The spatial, governmental and subjective dimensions of river control in India. Ph. D. Dissertation. Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Baghel, R. (2012) Knowledge, power and the environment: Epistemologies of the Anthropocene. Transcience 3(1): 1-6 [Editor's introduction to the special issue]

Baghel, R. and M. Nüsser (2010). Discussing large dams in Asia after the World Commission on Dams: Is a political ecology approach the way forward? Water Alternatives  3(2): 231-248. Link to article

Baghel, R. (2010) Fear of crime in South Africa: Obsession, compulsion, disorder. Transcience 1(2): 71-84

Baghel, R. and A. Mayr (2007). "Glimpses through the cage of fear: International students experience Durban". In R. Pattman and S. Khan (eds.) Undressing Durban. Durban: Madiba Publishers, University of KwaZulu-Natal  

Conference presentations (selected)

2012 Price of change: expert activism against large dams in India. 2nd
International Workshop on Comparative Water Studies, 20-21 January
2012, Bonn, Germany

2011. Water flowing waste to the sea: Tracing a genealogy of the technocratic understanding of rivers in India. "Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting" (12-16 April 2011) Seattle, USA .

2011. Dissenting governmentalities: Expert opposition to the large scale transformation of river systems in India. "Colorado Conference on Earth Systems Governance: Crossing boundaries and building bridges" (17-20 May 2011) Ft. Collins, USA

2010. Session “Knowledge, Power and the Environment”. Session organized for “Power & Knowledge, 2nd International Conference” (September 6-8, 2010), Tampere, Finland.

2009. Large Dams in India & China: Potentials and Pitfalls of a 'Third World Political Ecology' Approach. Paper presented at “Seventh International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities” (2 to 5 June 2009), Beijing, China.

2008. Control in Information societies: From surveillance to diagnosis? Paper presented at the conference “Power: Forms, Dynamics and Consequences”( 22-24 September 2008), Tampere, Finland.