Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCornell U.
Grant numberGr. 10609
Approve DateSeptember 29, 2023
Project TitleJha, Parijat (Cornell U.) "Insufficient Chill: Temperature and Apple Cultivation in the Western Himalayas"
Insufficient chill is a concept that horticulturalists use when temperate fruit trees do not receive the number of chilling hours required for a productive fruit crop. In recent years climate change has contributed to increased temperatures in the Western Himalayas and apple growers in Himachal Pradesh, the “apple state of India”, have encountered financial losses due to insufficient chill, labor shortages, and declining state support for agriculture. This research develops temperature as a multivalent analytic to study material changes to apple cultivation in the context of climate change and situate these processes in legacies of colonialism and neoliberal capitalist expansion. One central question is how climate change crises open new frontiers for capitalist expansion and commercial production, and create divergent impacts on communities in industrial agrarian environments? This project uses ethnographic and historical methods to examine the divergent ways that temperature is defined, felt, and deployed amidst environmental and economic crises in the Himalayan apple industry. Ultimately this dissertation presents an intersectional engagement with labor and environmental politics in a contemporary moment riddled with planetary uncertainty.