Shreyas Sreenath

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Emory U.

Grant number

Gr. 9253

Approve Date

April 8, 2016

Project Title

Sreenath, Shreyas, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Untouchability in India's IT City: Urban Waste and the Materiality of Power in Bangalore, India,' supervised by Dr. Peter Little

Preliminary abstract: This research explores the reproduction of untouchability among waste workers in Bangalore, a city known for its Information Technology (IT) outsourcing, clean environs, and scientific institutes. Recent growth has made garbage a critical public issue in the city, forcing the municipality to take drastic steps in regulating municipal waste management. While these regulations promote civic engagement, they remain silent on the discrimination faced by Bangalore’s waste workers, drawn overwhelmingly from lower caste communities. Via an ethnography of waste work in two neighborhoods–one marked by social segregation and another by its skilled yet neglected waste workers–this study asks: How are older forms of caste prejudice transformed into novel practices of untouchability in 21st century Indian cities? Engaging with scholarship on caste, waste, and governance, this research interrogates how historic practices of discrimination are reconfigured to facilitate the exigencies of modern urban life.