Introductory Lecture
What the Adivasis of eastern India can tell us about the global environmental crises


This paper highlights the importance of exploring what can be termed as emic understandings of anthropogenic change and of local thresholds (ecological tipping points) in History by mapping environmental change in Eastern India in the longue durée. By ceding the terrain of history to scientists in this debate on the Anthropocene and foregrounding planetary narratives on the fate of humanity locality class gender and race risk being glossed over
The shifts from planetary debates to the local allows us to analyse the impact of what has been termed as the Anthropocene in the locality.  The paper examines the relationship between environmental change and livelihoods of Adivasi or indigenous communities in the context of famines and food crisis from the eighteenth to the twentieth century primarily in Singhbhum, now Jharkhand and examines the impact of mining in the region as a new ecological tipping point. By documenting the geographies of resistance to these changes by Adivasis it also outlines the importance of understanding resistance as synonymous with resilience in the Anthropocene.

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