Oviya Govindan

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9598

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Govindan, Oviya M., U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Rising Tides: Making Property and Value on Urban, Coastal Chennai,' supervised by Dr. Willam Maurer

OVIYA GOVINDAN, then a graduate student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded funding in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Rising Tides: Making Property and Value on Urban Coastal Chennai,’ supervised by Dr. William Maurer. Hurricanes over the past decade have devastated coastal regions, decimated thriving economies and made life on the coast risky and vulnerable. At the same time, governments and private companies are investing billions of dollars in infrastructure projects along the coast, building massive power plants, tax-incentivized factories, and upscale sea-facing housing. This project examines an urban region: the densely built coastal city of Chennai, where different groups of people navigate property relations around the moral economy of fishing, real estate, and industrial infrastructure. At the present historical juncture social life on the coast and contestations over property relations need to reckon with processes like erosion, accretion, and sea-level rise and the shifting coastal terrain. This project uses the lens of property relations to study how fishers, bureaucrats, environmental and other community organizers narrate the changes to the coast, plan for its future, and engage in practices that shape its built form in ways that may amplify the effects of extreme weather events. Set in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes around the world, this study contributes to anthropological thinking about how value on the coast is co-produced through oceanic and human social processes.