E (Esha) Shah PhD

E (Esha) Shah PhD

Assistant Professor

I am an environmental engineer by training and a social scientist by professional choice. All my past and current research is focused on anthropology, history and philosophy of science and technology, I employ anthropological and historical methods in all my research and am increasingly using sources from popular culture (films and fiction) and (auto)biographical life-writings for my research and teaching.

Since my Doctorate from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, I have held research and teaching positions in the discipline of STS (science and technology studies) at the University of Sussex in the UK and the Maastricht University in the Netherlands where I have taught courses on Science Technology and Development and Globalisation, Debates on Technological Controversies, Philosophy of Science, and Anthropology of Technology. I have also held the position of fellow with the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, India (2013 -- 2015) and the Institut d'études avancées de Nantes, France (October 207 - June 2018).

Until recently my research interests are concerned with the history and anthropology of science and technology-led development in India on the divide of modernity and democracy. More specifically, I have worked on topics related to anthropology and history of indigenous irrigation technology, social movements against large dams, contested knowledge on large dams, moralization of technology, debates on social and risk appraisal of GMOs, history and philosophy of the genetic science, and farmers suicides.

More recently, I am developing my research interests on affective histories on the way in which human subjectivity (including emotions and affects) shape modes of development, normativity, political rationality, and knowledge practices, including objectivity in science and engineering. Who is the agentic self? How it is formed and how it is intertwined with the making of rationality (public, political or scientific)? What is science and how it is done and what is the role of subjectivity and inter-subjectivity in shaping objectivity? I am also working on politics of emotions and debates on development.

I am currently working on the following research projects: 1) the way ideals and practices of manliness and masculinity shaped the colonial history of dam engineering, 2) the way imagineering mega-hydraulic infrastructure such as large dams and the colossal National River Interlinking Project in India are concretely manifested in creating distinct political identities and subjectivities.