Dr Vinita Damodaran
|Post:||Professor of South Asian History (History, International Development)|
|Location:||ARTS A A030|
|International:||+44 1273 678457|
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Dr Damodaran is a historian of modern India, interested in sustainable development dialogues in the global South. Her work ranges from the social and political history of Bihar to the environmental history of South Asia, including using historical records to understand climate change in the Indian Ocean World. Her publications include; Broken Promises, Indian Nationalism and the Congress Party in Bihar (1992), Nature and the Orient, Essays on the Environmental History of South and South-East Asia(1998),Post Colonial India, History Politics and Culture (2000), British empire and the natural world: environmental encounters in South Asia, (2010), East India Company and the Natural world (2014). She is also the author of several articles in established journals. She is particularly interested in questions of environmental change, identity and resistance in Eastern India. An experienced researcher and teacher she has an M.Phil from JNU and a PhD from Cambridge. Currently, she is the director of the Centre for World Environmental History at Sussex. The centre is host to several research projects and a number of research associates. Dr Damodaran has had several research grants for her work from the ESRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy and the AHRC. She is currently leading an AHRC network project on the botanical and meteorological history of the Indian Ocean and is working on two projects one with the McGill university and the seond with Noragric. The centre collaborates actively with Kew Gardens, the British Library, the U.K. Met office and several international institutions both in India and elsewhere such as JNU, the Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata, the Indian Museum, Kolkata, the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, and Mcgill University, Canada and IDS, Sussex. She is engaged in building up the profile of South Asian studies and environmental history at the University of Sussex and internationally. She currently supervises 6 Phd students and is mentoring several post-doctoral scholars. She is also co-editor of the Palgrave series in World Environmental History. Her talks include,
March 2010, 'Place and agency, landscape narratives of Singhbhum' University of Sussex
June 2010, organisor of CWEH summer workshop 'Themes in Global Environmental History', University of Sussex
July 2010, Panel convenor, Environment and empire, Anglo American conference, London
March 2011, AHRC invitee for conference on South Asian Historical records and climate change, Bangalore
May, 2011, IHR, seminar on Comparative histories of Asia, London
May 2011, University of Sussex, Conference Organiser, Botany, climate and empire
June, 2011, Historic weather workshop, U.K. Met office, Exeter
July 2011, University of Exeter, Plenary speaker, Environment and Identity
Sep, 2011, KNMI, Netherlands, 4th ACRE Workshop
December, 2011, Natural History Museum, London, 'Nathanial Wallich and Indian natural History'
June 2012, Past and Present conference on Heritage in the modern world, Brighton
June 2012,organiser, University of Sussex, workshop on Electrifying Europe, the future generation of electricity and the supergrid
Dec, 2012 AHRC network on the botanical and meterological history of the Indian Ocean, Sussex
May 2013, Utopian Archives, AHRC meeting UEA, Norwich
August, 2013 AHRC network Botanical and meterological history of the Indian Ocean, Delhi
November, 2013 RCUK invitee, Delhi meeting, Food, water, energy nexus
December, 2013 Inaugural lecture on 'Natural heritage and colonial legacies in nineteenth century India', Indira Gandhi Institute of Sustainable development, Somerville College Oxford,
December, 2013 'A woman in science' SOAS, London South Asia seminar
April, 2014, 'Dynamics of urbanisation in India' seminar participant LSE
April 2014, Speaker at World Meterological Organisation meeting, WMO, Maputo 'Climate heritage of the Indian Ocean'.
July 2014, Panelist, World Congress of Environmental History, Guimaraes, Portugal
July 2014, Panel convenor and participant, European Association of South Asian Studies meeting, Zurich
November, 2014 Public Lecture, Indian Museum, Kolkata on E.K.Janakiammal
January, 2015, Somerville college, Oxford, seminar for senior Indian civil servants on sustainable development dialogues.
Feb 2015, Gujerat Institute of Desert Ecology, project meeting on 'Climate change, uncertainities from above and below'
Feb 2015, Univeristy of Beliefeld, 'Famine in early modern empires' Heidelberg Centre for the Environment.
March, 2015, 'Ideas of Natural heritage and legacies of the Raj' at conference on Assembling Value, the changing role of experts and expertise in art and heritage, MAACH,Maastricht University
July, 2015, paper at meeting on 'Official responses to mass harm and questions of Justice' International Institute of the sociology of Law, Onati, Spain
July, 2015, Oxford, A comparative history of famines in India and Britain in the early modern period
November, 2015, Paris, Climates of History, conference in honour of Emmanuel Ladurie
January, 2016, Uncertainity, climate change and social transformation workshop, Kolkata
June, 2016 Cambridge History of Violence, Meeting in Notredame University Rome
July, 2016 Panel convenor Adivasi histories, EASAS conference, Warsaw
October, 2016 Presenter, Cambridge history of the Indian Ocean, Harvard.
November, 2016, commentator, workshop on Sustainable Development Goals, Geneva
January, 2017, Climate change and South Asian coastal citie, Qatar
March, 2017, Forests, sacred groves and the environmental heritage of India, Kolkata
Directorships and Memberships and positions
Council Member, British Academy Society for South Asian Studies, 2003-2006
Member, Association of South Asian environmental historians, 2006-
University of Sussex, Senate member, 2007- 2009, 2012-
Member editorial board International journal of Development and Social research
Member, editorial board, Oecology international review of environmental history
Member programme committee Anglo-American conference on environments 2010
External Examiner, SOAS, University of London, 2009-2013
Co-Editor, Book series in World Environmental History, Palgrave
Director, Centre for World Environmental History, University of Sussex
Kew Gardens and the Natural History Museum on Indian garden drawings collections, 2009
British Library, Endangered Archives and World Collections project, 2009
Natural History Museum, Wallich and Indian Natural history, 2011
Coordinator for Sussex MOU with BL and MET office on historical records and climate change, 2012
Project Consultant, Commonwealth Forest history, Forest Research Institute, Dehradhun, India
Project consultant, National Museum, Kolkata
Academic consultant on Natural History Museum Video, Art and Empire, Images of Nature Gallery, 2013-2014
Leader, climate team, Indian Ocean World Centre, Mcgill University
AHRC Project head on Indian Natural History heritage exhibitions to be held in Kolkata and Mysore in October, 2016
Community and Business
She is part of a Sussex network liasing with Indian corporations over their CSR policy in Eastern India. She also runs with Zuky Serper an Academia and Activism network which is engaged in bringing the university and local communities together and creating new forms of knowledge for our sustainable future.
She is engaged in building links with libraries, musems and archives in India and the U.K. to enable digital repatriation of collections that will enable creating new archives of knowledge in regions such as South Asia. These include the Natural History Museum, Kew Garden, the British library and the Met office in the U.K. and the National Museum of Natural History, the Botanical Survey of India, The Forest Research Institute Dehradhun and the National Museum, Calcutta in India.
Recent public appearances include being part of public forum, in Brunei Gallery, London on mining, adivasis and India's civil war with the with the Booker prize winning writer, Arundhati Roy, June 2011
Public seminar at the Gandhi Foundation in London to coincide with the award of the Gandhi peace prize, November 2011
BBC 3 Radio programme Night Waves on 'Ravages of Nature' in March 2011.
Appearance on film on 'Indian orinthology a passage through time' produced by the Salim Ali institute of Orinthology and natural history, Bangalore
Appearance on Loksabha TV, Delhi in August 2013 on decolonisation of India.
Appearance in video at Natural History Museum, Art of empire in exhibition on Indian collections at Images of Nature gallery, 2013-2014
Appearance as part of Sussex team collaborating with Kew Garden on Hooker correspondence. www.kew.org/collections/hooker/.
Speaker at World Meterological Organisation international workshop on the recovery and digitisation of climate heritage in the Indian Ocean rim countries and Islands at Maputo, Mozambique, April, 2014 and part of WMO team on implementation of Data rescue in Indian Ocean World countries.
Media coverage of visit to Kolkata, India on 4th November, 2014 to deliver a public lecture on E.K. Janakiammal at the Indian Museum
Guardian Letter on the Migrant situation in the Indian Ocean World, May 20th 2015
Contributor BBC Radio 4 Natural History Heroes, Allan Octavian Hume, 1st October, 2015
Media coverage for two exhibitions taken to India in October 2016 on Environmental heritage
Media Coverage for her exhibition and work on Janaki Ammal, October, 2016
Media coverage for plenary lecture in Patna on Adivasis in the Anthropocene, March 30th, 2017