Tanmoy Sharma

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Yale U.

Grant number

Gr. 10030

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Sharma, Tanmoy (Yale U.) "Contentious Agreements: The Making and Remaking of a Hydrocarbon Regime in India"

TANMONY SHARMA, then a graduate student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded a grant in August 2020 to aid research on “Contentious Agreements: The Making and Remaking of a Hydrocarbon Regime in India,” supervised by Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan. This project asks: How do extractive industries get embedded in the social, political and economic life of a region? The research traces the formation and transformation of an oil and gas industry in the agrarian region of Upper Assam in the northeastern Indian state of Assam ‘ the birthplace and a key onshore basin of India’s hydrocarbon sector ‘ and investigates its intersections with regional politics and rural social life. The grantee undertook ethnographic and archival research in Assam and New Delhi for over 20 months. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted with and among village residents, oil executives and workers, oil-town residents, ethnopolitical activists, and government officials, among others, in a cluster of villages and two company towns in Upper Assam’s oil belt, and in Assam’s capital city of Guwahati. Combining archival and ethnographic research, the grantee collected evidence for: 1) the visions, power structures and legal frameworks that have enabled and constrained the operations of the oil industry in Assam; 2) the emergence of an expanding field of transactions and agreements between oil companies, local communities and the State; and 3) the notions of rights, value and the future that have emerged in the Upper Assam countryside in the shadow of extractive capitalism.