Extractive Ecologies: Fossil Fuels, Global Capital, and Postcolonial Development in India, 1870-1975


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project traces the lineage of contemporary conflicts over land acquisition and mineral extraction in India, and resituates ongoing debates about uneven development, state violence, and the marginalization of adibasi, or first-nations communities, in India’s mining regions. The research focuses on the formation of India’s coal and petroleum economies in the late colonial period and their resignification under the aegis of national development in the first decades of the postcolonial state. Tracking the intersections of fossil fuel infrastructures, legal regimes, new corporate forms, geological knowledge, ideologies of development, and adibasi autonomy movements, the project demonstrates how these economies of extraction frame long-term political crises of Indian democracy and development in the twentieth century.