Madhuri Karak


Insurgent Difference: An Ethnography of an Indian Resource Frontier

My Ph.D. dissertation analyzed resource extraction and development as mutually constitutive logics of rule in the bauxite-rich mountains of southern Odisha, India. I showed how Dongria and Kutia Kondh Adivasi communities threatened with displacement by mining capital draw on historically oppositional subjectivities to re-envision relations of power between the state, the market and the commons.

At the heart of this reimagining are youth activists who navigate overlapping worlds of agrarian distress, guerrilla insurgency, social movements and seasonal migration to forge new subjectivities and negotiations between politics, work and everyday life.

I conducted 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork [June-July 2013; June 2014 - July 2015] in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts of Odisha and archival research in Bhubaneswar, Chennai, and Kolkata. The Social Science Research Council and CUNY Graduate Center’s Advanced Research Collaborative supported this research.