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Aga, Aniket Pankaj

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Yale U.
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
April 22, 2013
Project Title: 
Aga, Aniket Pankaj, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Genetically Modified Politics: Transgenic Agriculture, Contested Knowledge, and Democratic Practice in India,' supervised by Dr. K. Sivaramakrishnan

Preliminary abstract: At the intersection of democracy at work and science in action, I will follow the life of a specific public policy controversy in Indian agriculture - whether to allow the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) or transgenic food crops - that may well transform agriculture and food irreversibly. India is one of the most important countries for the global transgenics debate: It has one of the largest populations of small farmers in the world who may adopt transgenic food crops. Empirically, my research will trace the controversy over GM vegetables from corporate seed laboratories to the farm through government offices and anti-GM NGOs. It will examine how dynamic processes, such as farmers choosing seeds, capital making investments, activists making claims, and bureaucratic regulation, enable and transform democratic politics. I will focus on how decision-making, across levels and sectors of government and society, meshes with political and scientific contingencies to produce policy outcomes which affect national anxieties and local lives. Thus, my study foregrounds uncertainty in order to trace decision-making, structured by contentious sciences, across the interlocking gears of the democratic machine. In this way, the study clarifies the relationship between science and politics in a democracy of the global South.