ANIKET PANKAJ AGA, then a graduate student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Genetically Modified Politics: Transgenic Agriculture, Contested Knowledge, and Democratic Practice in India,' supervised by Dr. K. Sivaramakrishnan. The controversy-whether or not to allow genetically modified (GM) or transgenic food crops in India-which exploded in early 2010 is now in its fourth year without any definitive resolution. This research followed the controversy over GM food crops in order to understand the relationship between science and politics in contemporary India. Through multi-sited ethnography, interviews, and archival research, this study explored how people made sense of transgenics, how they evaluated them and how transgenics became an object of contestation across three key sites involved in the GM food debate: regulatory and policy-making offices of the federal and state-level government; a prominent NGO critical of India's policy-making and regulatory regime vis-à-vis GM crops; and the R&D centers of private sector seed companies that have invested in transgenics. The research examined how dynamic processes (such as activists making claims, bureaucratic policy-making and regulation) and private capital making investments on a technology with uncertain results, enable and transform democratic politics. At the same time, it also focused on how these processes allow certain groups to participate in the debate, while trying to keep others out.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
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