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2017 Guest Speaker

 

Ann Gold, PhD
2017 Guest Speaker

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During ethnographic fieldwork in the municipality of Jahazpur, a market town and sub-district headquarters in North India, I learned about the town's minor river, the Nagdi. Linked with Jahazpur's mythic origin tale, the Nagdi River, as recollected by the town's residents, was a source of both utility and beauty. By 2010 when I began to look at the river, its flow had dwindled, choked on trash and sewage. Aware that an important part of shared environmental and cultural heritage was in dire peril, Jahazpur residents and local government had made sporadic efforts to mobilize restoration, but it had proved discouraging to sustain alignments across community and class. One old man predicted regretfully, "Someday the Nagdi will be nothing more than a story we tell our children." Since then the river's tale has taken more than one twist and turn. The municipality built gutters to redirect the sewage and young shopkeepers mobilized to dredge the riverbed by machine, and pull out muck by hand. By 2015 the river's deterioration had been partially reversed although its ultimate fate remains uncertain. The Nagdi's unfinished story is one of neither ecological despair nor redemption. To examine it closely reveals complicated intersections of legend, nostalgia, aspiration and persevering efforts within a local environment.


 

 


Announcements


 Sirui Ma has been inducted to Phi Beta Kappa.

Jake Horvitz won best essay in First Year Seminar.

Alec Rothschild was accepted into the Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples program.

 

    

 
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