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[alai: wave; nagaram: city]

The podcast that discusses urbanism on and along the sea

Supported by the Leverhulme Trust, LSE Department of Geography & Environment and LSE Research & Innovation

Seacoasts around the world and the seas themselves have been integral to the history of urban settlement, in the labour and economic mobilities, and intercultural exchanges they facilitated. Tidal waters and shifting coastal sands also materially constitute cities, altering their geomorphology and biodiversity constantly, thus shaping their socio-spatiality. Yet, human geography, and urban geography, in particular, have paid curiously little attention to the sea and coastlines in their understanding of human-environment interactions.

This podcast attempts to set up a cross-disciplinary conversation on seacoasts, cities and the urban processes they are entangled in. The liminal materiality of seashores with shifting sands, water, and salt, have historically engendered fluidity in inhabitation by fishing and nomadic communities. But these geographies are increasingly appropriated by developmental, state and environmental interests, their claims intensified by governmentalities of ecological vulnerability.

Thus, the podcast features accounts of seacoasts that examine human-environment interaction and contestation in the making of urban space. The first series has a geographical focus on the shoreline of Tamil Nadu, in the south eastern coast of India, where interventions post the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami have affected sea change so to speak. 

In initiating an academic conversation that locates itself within political claims on coastal geographies, many of which arise from indigenous and labour movements, the podcast also grapples with the question of who the broadcast is for and how academic dissemination can contribute towards effective political communication with and for the constituents of research. At this stage, there is no resolution offered to this question, which is hoped to, however, encourage further experiment on form and language of this initiative going forward. 

Fisher narratives of industrial pollution in the Coromandel coast ft. Oviya Govindan Alainagaram

  1. Fisher narratives of industrial pollution in the Coromandel coast ft. Oviya Govindan
  2. Fisher councils in the Coromandel Coast and the politics of resource governance ft. A Bhagath Singh & Prabhakar Jayaprakash
  3. Gender, caste & sexual publics on the beaches of Chennai ft. Sneha Krishnan
  4. Pearl Fishery in the Gulf of Mannar ft. Tamara Fernando

Episode 4. Fisher narratives of industrial pollution in the Coromandel coast. [Language: English]

Guest: Oviya Govindan, PhD Candidate in Anthropology, University of California Irvine

Mentioned in this episode:

Oviya Govindan. Following Fish-Talk through Industrial Waters. Items: Insights from the Social Sciences. Social Scienc Research Council. February 16, 2021. [Read]

Timothy Neale, Matt Barlow & Radhika Govindrajan. Episode #38: Radhika Govindrajan. Conversations in Anthropology. 2020. Podcast, mp3 audio: 49.13. [Listen]

Max Liboiron, Manuel Tironi & Nerea Calvillo. Toxic politics: Acting in a permanently polluted world. Social Studies of Science. 2018. 48(3):331-349. [Read]

Episode 3. Fisher councils in the Coromandel Coast and the politics of resource governance. [Language: Tamil]


Bhagath Singh A: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Social Sciences, French Institute of Pondicherry

Prabhakar Jayaprakash: PhD Candidate in Anthropology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai

Mentioned in this episode:

Sarah Coulthard. More than just access to fish: the pros and cons of fisher participation in a customary marine tenure (Padu) system under pressure. Marine Policy. 2011. 35(3), 405-412. [Read]

Kenton Lobe & Fikret Berkes. The padu system of community-based fisheries management: change and local institutional innovation in south India. Marine Policy. 2004. 28(3), 271-281. [Read]

Episode 2. Gender, caste & sexual publics on the beaches of Chennai. [Language: English]

Guest: Sneha Krishnan, Associate Professor in Human Geography, University of Oxford

Mentioned in this episode:

Sneha Krishnan. Where do good girls have sex? Space, risk and respectability in Chennai. Gender, Place & Culture. 2021. 28:7, 999-1018. [Read]

Episode 1. Pearl Fishery in the Gulf of Mannar. [Language: English]

Guest: Tamara Fernando, PhD Candidate in History, University of Cambridge

Mentioned in this episode:

Tamara Fernando. Death at the Pearl Fishery. Hypocrite Reader. Issue 95. July 2020. [Read]

Tamara Fernando. Seeing Like the Sea: A Multispecies History of the Ceylon Pearl Fishery 1800–1925. Past & Present. 2021. [Read]

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