[CSH Workshop #Online] ‘This is all waste’: emptying, cleaning, and clearing land for renewable energy dispossession in borderland India (D. Singh)

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The Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) is pleased to invite you to the CSH Online Workshop with:

David Singh

(PhD scholar at University of East Anglia and University of Copenhagen)

‘This is all waste’: emptying, cleaning, and clearing land for renewable energy dispossession in borderland India

Discussant: Dr. Marie-Hélène Zérah, Research Director (IRD)


Monday. 6 December 2021, 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

via Zoom:


To get priority access in case of large affluence, kindly register to:

Abstract: Renewables are imagined in India around features of ‘greenness’ and ‘cleanness’ and are presented as the modern pathway towards sustainable development and unlimited growth. But this shining story entails a problematic land politics and the related (un)making of space for capital accumulation: previous property regimes and land uses are erased while a new set of land technologies and territorial rules legitimates land dispossession and the private takeover of commons. Wind infrastructures are specifically targeting (common) lands categorised as ‘deserted’, ‘empty’ and ‘waste’ and subaltern groups (tribal, pastoral and Dalit communities) whose livelihood practices have been historically described as ‘unproductive’ and ‘backward’. These both violent and discursive logics of (neo)colonial and green energy land politics are mediated and fixed to the ground levels by powerful (land) brokers, contractors, wind companies’ land team and political mediators who embark land on its tortuous, bureaucratic and yet material journey towards clearing, cleaning and holding value. This article offers perspectives from political geography and critical agrarian studies to understand the territorial process, the persistence of class-caste relations and the legacy of coloniality underlying the land politics of green energy development in borderland India.

David Singh is enrolled in a joint Ph.D. program at the University of East Anglia (UK) and the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) since 2019. Before this, he completed his B.A in political science at La Sorbonne University-Paris 1, and a M.A in international politics at Sciences po Bordeaux. His research interests focus largely on territorialization and land, resource extraction and green energy infrastructures. David’s Ph.D. dissertation analyses the territorial expansion of wind infrastructures in borderland Gujarat, and the underlying extraction, dispossession and destruction dynamics. He also discusses the issue of mediation and caste power in fixing large-scale wind power projects, the (un/re)making of space by identity politics and the emergence of resistance practices.

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