April 2024


Online Via Zoom


Stories of Corals from the Lakshadweep Islands of India

Indian Ocean and Beyond: Outward Bound from Gujarat
Lakshmi Pradeep | Postdoctoral Fellow, Leiden University

Lakshmi Pradeep

Postdoctoral Fellow
Leiden University

Based on ethnographic stories from the Lakshadweep Islands of India, this talk will explore how to take account of the “coral multiple”. The talk will unpack how corals, as mythical objects, and growing rocks, transgress the biological definitions of life and death. The coral rock formations gave protection from invaders, acted as protective belts from cyclones, became the walls of wonder, and sometimes of fear. Through the myth of the Beekunji rock and other caves, and a set of lexical concepts in the island language, we will discuss how the corals are integrally connected to social life in the Lakshadweep archipelago. Influenced by the literature on non-human anthropology, the talk will dive into the discussions on indigeneity, environment, and the politics of dwelling on these coral islands. Through this, the talk aims to contribute to the emerging discussions on human and non-human relations in Asian archipelagos during the climate crisis.

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Lakshmi Pradeep

Lakshmi Pradeep is a postdoctoral fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies at Leiden University with specialisations in the fields of Environmental Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, and Island Studies. She completed her PhD in South Asian Studies from National University of Singapore in 2023. Her doctoral dissertation was an ethnography of island protection and coral conservation in the Lakshadweep Islands. She also holds an MPhil in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University and an Integrated Masters in Sociology from University of Hyderabad, India. In addition to this, she is a project partner in co-creating a ‘Sea Lexicon’ for the ‘Southern Collective,’ an ongoing initiative of the Transdisciplinary Collaborations on the Northern Indian Ocean.