Ashima Mittal

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10329

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Mittal, Ashima (Chicago, U. of) "Making Air Breathable: Experimental Ecologies of 'Clean' tech in India"

India, the country with one of the most polluted atmospheres on the planet, is becoming a hub for global investment in ‘clean’ tech projects in the wake of managing its proliferating air pollution crisis. Through emergent vistas of green finance, atmospheric engineering, and speculative design, air pollution zones in the country are being transformed into ‘experimental ecologies’ to produce new visions of economic growth and environmental management. This research aims to study these ongoing projects at three critical sites of technoscientific research, industrial production and implementation: public-private R&D labs, clean-tech startups, and urban design studios respectively. Through a historical and ethnographic study of these projects, my research inquires: how air pollution is constituted as an environmental problem and a business opportunity in these projects? What forms of negotiations emerge between the different stakeholders and experts collaborating to solve air pollution? And how are high intensity pollution zones converted into ‘profitable’ sites of clean-tech experimentation? In doing so, this project’s aim is to illuminate the practices of environmentalism and the social and political futurities that become available through projects of producing breathable air in India and the possibilities for human-environmental relationships that are opened and foreclosed through them.