Culturing Urban Ecology: Strategic Linkages of Environment and Cultural Identity in Urban River Restoration, The Upper Bagmati Basin, Kathmandu, NepalEPA Grant Number: U915764
Title: Culturing Urban Ecology: Strategic Linkages of Environment and Cultural Identity in Urban River Restoration, The Upper Bagmati Basin, Kathmandu, Nepal
Investigators: Rademacher, Anne M.
Institution: Yale University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: August 1, 2000 through August 1, 2003
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences , Fellowship - Anthropology
The objective of this research project is to examine the way perceptions and descriptions of environmental degradation are strategically paired with assertions about cultural degradation and cultural identity to produce distinctly "eco-cultural" discourses about a particular urban river system.
Primarily ethnographic and discourse analysis techniques will be employed to identify and analyze competing discourses of degradation and restoration in the Bagmati-Bishnumati system. Archival, ethnographic, and interview methods will be combined; each of these will aid in constructing an analytical map of competing discourses of restoration and in exploring their content for the construction of relationships between culture and ecology.
The goal of this research project is to understand the genealogy of dominant representations of the ecological and cultural significance of the riverscape while identifying competing claims about those significances. Questions that will be answered include: How does the dominant development discourse on river restoration construct the cultural value of the riverscape? What role is this cultural value said to play in the river's ecological health? What are the sociopolitical implications of the conceptual and rhetorical pairing of culture and ecology, and which social groups stand to gain and lose from resulting visions of "restoration"? In particular, the threatening implications of the development discourse for the more than 10,000 landless migrants (Sukumbasis) now settled in the riparian zone provide a striking opportunity to examine the political dimensions of an eco-cultural management strategy in a local context.