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’.

I am interested in the political ecology of land use change in the swidden/shifting cultivation/jhum landscapes of Garo Hills in Meghalaya, Northeast India. This subsumes a range of themes including the dynamics of land use mapping, agricultural change within swidden, plantations and forests, and the character of land tenurial changes. I had earlier studied the nature of socio-economic differentiation, food security, well-being, and livelihood sustainability. I am increasingly interested in the complex historical continuities of intercontinental trade, the wider dynamics of market linkages, and configurations of the political economy of the region that have contributed to land use change to engage with conservation and development issues. The consequences of it for agroecology, nutrition, and intra-community dynamics are themes I am currently exploring.

My research and teaching aim to provide a better understanding of the conundrums of environmental and related social issues with a keen interest in informing theory, policy, and action. 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.

I teach undergraduate courses with disciplinary and interdisciplinary focus including Biodiversity and Conservation, Environmental Social Science, and Earth Science in the Environmental Science Bachelor’s 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

Bruun,…Kurien, et al. (20XX) ‘Shifting Cultivation and Sustainable Management of Forest-Agriculture Landscapes’, Policy paper published by the Working group on Shifting Cultivation of the Global Land Programme (GLP) & FAO Rome (upcoming)

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, 50 (2): 758-786.

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.

  • Land systems science of forest-agricultural landscapes
  • Causal histories/pathways of environmental change and their consequences
  • Agroecology & Agrarian studies
  • Dynamics of rural livelihood sustainability and well-being
  • 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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