Associate Professor of Anthropology Radhika Govindrajan was recently awarded a 2020 ACLS Fellowship for her project, "More-Than-Human Democracy in Himalayan India."
Govindrajan's project will explore the granting of legal personhood to bodies of water in India. From the ACLS website:
In 2017, the High Court of Uttarakhand, a state in Himalayan India, issued a judgment recognizing the legal personhood of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. While the judgment was later struck down by the Supreme Court, it opened the doors to similar judgments bestowing personhood and rights on natural entities. This project asks what such recent moves to recognize the rights of nature, and their productive tension with long-standing religious, cultural, and activist traditions that view nonhumans as social persons (speficially cow-protection movements, animal rights activism, and efforts to seek rights for deities), might reveal about the reimagining of Indian democracy as a more-than-human formation whose institutions and processes must cater not only to humans but also to nonhumans.