Professor Maya Ratnam has been awarded the prestigious New India Fellowship, which supports scholars researching topics pertaining to post-Independence India, in completing their book manuscripts. Maya Ratnam received her PhD in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University and is an Assistant Professor at the School of Arts and Sciences at Ahmedabad University.
Professor Ratnam’s book is based on her dissertation work and will take the form of a lucid, ethnographic study of indigeneity, forest-dwelling, and resource rights in central India. To be titled Dwelling in the Forest: The Government of Nature in Tribal Central India, the book draws on extended fieldwork among the Baiga community of Dindori district, as well as in-depth archival research. The book brings a new and unique perspective to understanding the contested tribal-forest question, probing both its historical legacies and its contemporary conundrums. The book is an empirically grounded account of the poetics and politics of resource struggles in India’s fragile forest landscapes, while remaining attentive to the possibilities of conceptualizing Adivasi political subjectivity beyond subalternity and resistance frameworks.
The New India Foundation Fellowships are now in their tenth year, and it was announced in April 2021 that they have been awarded to 11 scholars and writers for their non-fiction book proposals on different aspects of post-Independence India. The awardees include distinguished scholars, shortlisted from an unprecedented pool of over 900 applicants.