Shalini Iyengar

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Yale U.

Grant number

Gr. 10518

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Iyengar, Shalini (Yale U.) "Making the Coastal Zone: Law, Livelihoods, and Conservation in the Bay of Bengal"

How is the coastal zone produced, sustained, and transformed through conservation laws’themselves constantly changing’which draw on conflicting visions of sovereignty and justice in the more-than-human ecologies of the Bay of Bengal? My historically-informed ethnographic study investigates how coastal actors ‘ fishers, conservationists, bureaucrats, and non-human species ‘ make legal and moral claims to existence, influence, and mobility in coastal regions. My project studies this claim-making to enquire into the spatio-legal constructs and practices that produce the coastal zone and the ways in which coastal ecologies upset and exceed these efforts. It will examine this through ethnographic fieldwork of the marine conservation work done by environmental organizations, fishers, scientists, and bureaucrats in three domains of regulation and participatory action: sustainable fisheries, marine plastics, and coastal zone mapping. My work investigates how law and spatial imagination navigate the fluidity of coastal zones and the dynamism of knowledge and aspiration in these zones. In an age where climate change forces us to reconsider our categories of knowing and doing, my project seeks to understand how the coastal zone is produced as a dynamic but fragile entity capable of being mutually legible and comprehensive within and across scales of governance and species.