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SITA VENKATESWAR is Associate Professor in the Social Anthropology programme at Massey University, Aotearoa/New Zealand. She is also Associate Director of the Massey chapter of the New Zealand India Research Institute (NZIRI). She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Rutgers University in 1997. Her ethnography Development and Ethnocide: Colonial Practices in the Andaman Islands (2004) is based on her Ph.D. fieldwork in the Andaman Islands from 1989 to 1992 funded by the National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant. Her co-edited book, The Politics of Indigeneity: Dialogues and Reflections on Indigenous Activism (2011) is published by Zed Books. In 2016 she co-edited with Sekhar Bandyopadhyay a third book Globalisation and the Challenges of Development in Contemporary India, Springer-Verlag. Her current project follows millet farming in India and the organic millets value chain globally using ethnography and film for documentary story-telling.
Sita Venkateswar‘s research documents the ways academic practices can be
responsive to social inequities. Her work incorporates critical feminist scholar-activist
research methodologies, designated as Public Anthropology, informed by feminist
decolonial theories. She uses a comparative and reflexive anthropological lens
to address issues of internal colonialism, gender, poverty, social oppression and
structural violence within the postcolonial and neoliberal contexts of South Asia.
Her ongoing research addresses the changing agroecological contexts of food production in India and more recently in New Zealand and USA.
Sita's research interests in general include cultural analysis and the relationship between gender and power. Since her research in the Andaman Islands, she has conducted visual exploration of child labour in Nepal, and addressed issues related to poverty, and grassroots democracy in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Sita has also conducted research addressing the situation of refugees and forced migrants in Europe.
She is currently embarked on new research exploring a multi-species approach to food resilience and climate justice that focuses on millet cultivation in India and community supported agricultural initiatives in New Zealand. Other new, collaborative, multidisciplinary opportunities relate to the early Indian diaspora in Aotearoa/New Zealand, ethical value chains and family violence interventions in South Auckland.
21st Century Citizenship, Future Food Systems
Field of research codes
Anthropology (160100): Anthropology of Development (160101): Social and Cultural Anthropology (160104): Studies In Human Society (160000)
South Asia, India, Anthropocene, Andaman Islands, Indigeneity, Millets, Food Resilience, Collaborative Methodologies, Public Anthropology, Multispecies, Gendered Knowledges
Project Title: Farming to flourish: Regenerative food systems, sustainable livelihoods and thriving communities in Taranaki
Date Range: 2020 - 2021
Funding Bodies: Bashford-Nicholls Charitable Trust; Massey University
Project Title: Slow Violence, Social Suffering and Climate Justice: multidisciplinary interventions
Date Range: 2012 - 2012
Funding Body: Massey University
Project Title: Indigenous Futures in the 21st Century: Dialogues and Reflections
Date Range: 2008 - 2009
Funding Body: Massey University
Co-tutelary PhD supervision of Sandra Cristina Simoes Marquez at the Univeristy of Lisbon (2004-2009)
2009 Cameras and Tourism in Kolkata: Representations through photovoice ISCTE-IUL 2009, Doctoral Thesis (see link below for more details):