Room 019, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Ahmedabad University
Stephen Alter is an established author, a naturalist and conservationist. Born in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand he received his education from Woodstock School and Wesleyan University. He began his career by teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt where he was director of the writing program for seven years. Following this, he was a writer-in-residence at MIT for ten years. An author of more than 20 books of fiction and nonfiction , much of his writing focused on the Himalayan region. He has written extensively on natural history, folklore and mountain culture. Particularly in his travel memoir Sacred Waters: A Pilgrimage to the Many Sources of the Ganga explores these themes. The renowned author has garnered multiple accolades for his literary works. His novel, "Birdwatching," was honoured with the prestigious 2023 Green Book of the Year Award at the Green Literature Festival, Bengaluru. Additionally, his book "Wild Himalaya: A Natural History of the Greatest Mountain Range on Earth" (Aleph 2019) received both the 2020 Banff Mountain Book Award in the Mountain Environment and Natural History category and the 2021 Kekoo Naoroji Award for Himalayan Literature. Notably, it was also shortlisted for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Prize. Furthermore, Mr Stephen’s "Becoming a Mountain: Himalayan Journeys in Search of the Sacred and the Sublime" (Aleph 2014) earned him the 2015 Kekoo Naoroji Award. In addition to his notable work, "In The Jungles of the Night: A Novel about Jim Corbett" (Aleph 2016), achieved recognition by being shortlisted for the DSC South Asian Literature Award. Among his honours he has received are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the East West Centre in Hawaii, and the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture. Mr Alter continues to weave narratives that captivate readers and contribute significantly to the understanding and appreciation of the diverse landscapes and traditions that define the Indian subcontinent.
Professor Suchismita Das is also Fellow of the Centre for Inter-Asian Research. She earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and her MA and MPhil in Sociology from Delhi University. She served as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago and as a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before joining Ahmedabad University. Her research traces the intersections between environmental vulnerability and political vulnerability on India’s north-eastern frontier. She is currently embarking on an ethnographic project that examines infrastructure-collapse in the Himalayan region as a material index of social experiences of climate change.