Dr. Amit John Kurien - RV University

Dr. Amit John Kurien

Assistant Professor (Environmental Science)

  • About
  • Publication & Works
  • Research Summary
  • Awards & Achievements

I am an environmental social scientist interested in the multidimensional issues at the convergence of environmental change and rural societal dynamics. My research interests lie at the interface of forest, agriculture, and livelihood changes with an effort to inform conservation and development ‘problems’. My research and teaching are aimed at providing better understanding of the conundrums around emerging human-environment relationships with a keen interest to inform policy and action.

I am currently interested in the political ecology of environmental change in the shifting cultivation landscapes, dynamics of forest cover, and consequences for agroecology, nutrition, and livelihood sustainability. This is located in Garo Hills in Meghalaya, Northeast India within landscapes of modified ecology and tenure, indigenous village societies in sociocultural transition, with complex historical continuities of intercontinental trade, new market linkages, and contemporary changes in the political economy of the region in a global capitalist system.

For my PhD, I worked intensively in forest-agrarian landscapes and societies in Meghalaya in Northeast India and examined the issues in mapping shifting cultivation/swidden landscapes and understanding the causes of land use change and specific processes of agricultural intensification in shifting cultivation systems. This was followed by a detailed study on its consequences for socio-economic differentiation in society, food security, well-being, and livelihood sustainability. I espouse interdisciplinary research framings and methodological pluralism to approach such complex human-environment ‘problems’. I use remote sensing and GIS, qual-quant social science methods, and archival data in my work, and I am a conservation biologist by early training.

At RV university I teach undergraduate courses on ‘Environmental social science’ and ‘Earth and environment’ in their Environmental Science programme. I have prior undergraduate and post-graduate teaching experience at science and social science institutes in India.

Golden divider

"Never lose sight of the role your particular subject has within the great performance of the tragi-comedy of human life; keep in touch with life […] and, Keep life in touch with you." - Erwin Schrödinger, Science and Humanism

Aguiar,...Kurien, et al. (2023) Transforming critical agrarian studies: Solidarity, scholar-activism and emancipatory agendas in and from the Global South, Journal of Peasant Studies (in press)

Kurien, A.J. (2021) Facing the pandemic crisis in Garo Hills, Seminar: 748 (Dec) Re-visioning the Rural, 65-69

Kurien, A.J. Lele, S. & Nagendra, H. (2019) Farms or Forests? Understanding and mapping shifting cultivation using the case study of West Garo Hills, India, Land 8(9): 133

Lele, S. & Kurien, A.J. (2011) Interdisciplinary analysis of the environment: insights from tropical forest research. Environmental Conservation, 38(2): 1-23. (DOI: 10.1017/S037689291100018X)

  • Environmental change in forest-agricultural landscapes
  • Understanding causes of environmental change
  • Agroecology & Agrarian studies
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Awarded the Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Fellowship (2013-15) from Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust & Foundation for Ecological Securities (FES)

  • Fieldwork grant for the doctoral research

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