Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York U.
Grant numberGr. 9615
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleMurray, Laura C., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Sacred Cows: Science, Politics, and Ecology in North India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Grant
LAURA C. MURRAY, then a graduate student at New York University, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2018 to aid research on “Sacred Cows: Science, Politics, and Ecology in North India,” supervised by Dr. Bruce Grant. This project uses ethnographic and archival research across sites of livestock development and dairy production in India to examine how physical and conceptual boundaries between humans, cows, and buffaloes speak to broader notions of social legitimacy and belonging. By tracing practices and processes by which distinctions that span categories of human and nonhuman materialize, fade, and change, I ask after otherwise obfuscated structures of political exclusion and inequality. Specifically, exploring the emergent political, religious, and social forms that map onto human relations through animal lives, I contend that that struggles over caste, religion, and development— central to Hindu nationalist discourse, practice, and its historical precedents—are being rehearsed and remade through debates over animal rights and value.