Publications & Resources

Our faculty, students and researchers work together everyday to contribute to a better world by grappling with urgent problems we are facing in India. We conduct rigorous work to produce high quality learning resources and publications to contribute to public discourse and social change. Here, we feature a sample from our work for everyone to access. You can explore featured resources, policies, and the latest publications from the University. 

To explore all the work of our University, please visit our publications repository.

  • Article

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    Abstract

    When NASA provided free worldwide access to the Landsat data archive, scientists greatly expanded the analysis of new locations and novel topics. Of course, data democracy is not just for scientists. When citizens own the rights to generate and access data that speaks to their concerns, democracy is strengthened. Data democracy began to gain prominence in the early 2000s, with the growth of the open data movement. In today’s era of climate change, the term assumes increasing significance. Yet despite the large volume of opensource climate data, access remains largely limited to academia and business. Climate data democracy enables all sections of society to access climate data; understand how to use and interpret it; and be able to use data for climate action. Given the lack of data and severity of the crisis in the Global South, we argue that these regions must take the lead in driving conversations around climate data democracy.

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  • Article

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    Abstract

    The principle of reasonable accommodation according to Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is defined as necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms’. Exploring the relationship between inclusive policies enacted in institutions of higher education in India, and their impact on those who claim accommodation, we discuss the nature of care that informs and animates such interactions. Drawing on feminist disability studies scholarship on care, particularly, Akemi Nishida’s recommendation that care is inherently collective we analyse two sets of transactions selected for study as enabling care in patronising and charitable manners, while simultaneously ignoring the politics of responding to and providing accommodations. We find that institutional responses to accommodation claims are less reflective of the socio-political and affective aspects integral to the RA principle. Instead, the focus seems to be on providing either technocratic solutions or interpreting RA claims as causing undue burden. By reading the RA principle through the lens of scholarship on interdependence, we aim to broaden the scope of adopting and interpreting the RA principle.

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  • Article

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    Nature-based solutions have gained popularity as an approach to reduce the impacts of climate and environmental change, providing multi-fold and multi-sectoral benefits especially in cities. Yet there has been growing concern about their utility for cities of the Global South, a concern fuel led by the paucity of studies, including scientific peer reviewed and gray literature. In this paper, we contribute to this knowledge gap, based on an analysis of 120 case studies of NBS in Global South cities, documented in two databases (Urban Natural Atlas and Oppla). These cases fall largely under categories of blue and green infrastructure, with a few cases also focusing on grey infrastructure (in buildings or campuses). While most cases are in Asia, several have also been documented in Africa and Central/​South America. Two-third of documented NBS cases are aligned towards either national, or lower-level (regional and local) policies indicating the importance of policy mechanisms for driving their implementation. Institutional arrangements are usually non-government, government or collaborative arrangements, with the goal of climate resilience, biodiversity support and ecosystem restoration — along with social goals of creating public spaces. However, when private players take on the mandate for NBS, they focus primarily on grey infrastructure (in buildings and campuses), primarily meant for private or employee benefits,and not for the public. In cases where public engagement is a stated priority, we find tokenistic approaches deployed, primarily seeking engagement through information dissemination and consultation predominate. Despite the stated importance for participation and engagement, only a few cases focused on empowerment and co-creation of NBS with local communities. We suggest that there is a greater need for documentation regarding the modes of participation especially on roles and levels of actors involved, to enrich our understanding of the impact of NBS on values of justice and equity in the cities of the global South.

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  • Article

    Laughter and Fieldwork in Nagaland: A Dialogue

    in ACME-An International Journal for Critical Geographies

    Cover issue 142 en US
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    Abstract

    This is a dialogue and reflection about fieldwork, laughter, and decolonising methodology. Is there a time to laugh? How and why should researchers laugh? By focusing on the Naga people in Northeast India, an Indigenous community with a deep history of militarisation, this dialogue draws our attention to the meaning of laughter, fellowship, and emotional connections. An Indigenous Naga anthropologist in conversation with an ecologist, this dialogue dwells on the meaning of laughter as sharing an experience of fellowship together. Social science methodologies are often structured on examinations, investigations interviews, fieldnotes, and observations. This dialogue opens a space to reflect on fieldwork, research, and decolonisation. Laughter, as this dialogue highlights, is about affection, solidarity, and collective vision. For any long-term relationship that one seeks to establish as a researcher, acknowledging and respecting the history of the land, adopting a community-approach, and mentoring Indigenous local scholars to lead the research among their respective communities are important steps towards decoloniality.

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  • Article

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    Graphical literacy or graphicacy is a critical component of scientific literacy. Graphs are used to integrate and represent complex sets of information requiring abstraction from perceptual experience. They form essential parts of the Mathematics and Science curriculum across school curricular stages. A key to developing meaningful pedagogic practices to inculcate graphical literacy is in understanding how students perceive and comprehend features of graphs and interpret them. This study attempts to understand how children from the primary, middle and high school years, perceive and interpret information in bar and line graphs. Two hundred and twenty-nine children from four different school contexts in Grades V, VII and IX were administered questionnaires and interviewed based on tasks requiring comprehension of graphs. It was found that children’s understanding of graphs was tied to the curricular progression which was significant at Grades V and IX. Comprehension of bar graphs with nominal data was easier compared to line graphs requiring integration of information from two dimensions and interpreting them. Further, graphs requiring preliminary levels of statistical understanding were easier to comprehend. While prior experience and facility with graphical conventions played a role, interpretation from spatial to symbolic representations posed challenges. Students did not have a clear preferred strategy or a linear comprehension trajectory, but moved back and forth between conventions, clustering of graphical elements and written content in questions, to make meaning. Those who had performed well used various perceptual strategies simultaneously. Further, they were found to employ transformational reasoning based on a sense of how things work’. It was observed that meaningful pedagogic practices at school and informal experiences outside the classroom aid graphical literacy.

    Authors

    Sindhu Mathai, Parvathi Krishnan, and Jaya Sreevalsan-Nair

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  • Mountains of Life newsletter Jun edition coverpage
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    Abstract

    The second edition of the Mountains of Life newsletter highlights the importance of World Environment Day with a focus on land restoration and drought resilience. It features stories on the impact of desertification on Indian mountain ecosystems and communities, showcases sustainable agricultural practices like the Barah-Anaja system of Uttarakhand, and celebrates indigenous conservation knowledge. The newsletter also shares inspiring stories of unsung heroes across India working to restore barren mountain regions to self-sustaining ecosystems, explores the biodiversity of the Eastern Ghats, highlights endangered species in Indian mountains, and includes a puzzle corner for interactive learning.

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  • Landscape and Urban Planning
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    Abstract

    Urban wetlands are well-known to provide multiple ecosystem services and are essential for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The management practices of local institutions are strongly influential on the sustainability outcomes of urban wetlands, yet the beliefs and value systems underlying distinct management approaches have not been studied thoroughly. Therefore, this study aims to elucidate the perceptions of local stakeholders regarding the ecosystem services provided by urban wetlands, their linkages to the SDGs, and pertinent threats to the wetlands, to reveal the connections between local awareness and sustainable management practices. Using the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) in India as a case study, we used a mixed-method approach to interview 120 local stakeholders associated with two differentially managed wetland systems – community and private. Our results demonstrate that the community wetlands are more socially inclusive in nature than the private wetlands. The private users emphasized economic benefits and livelihood security above all, whereas the community users strongly valued diverse provisioning services and cultural services in addition to the livelihood security. Further, community users identified a greater number of ecosystem services as contributing toward the SDGs relative to private users. We suggest that sustainable development strategies consult and incorporate the perceptions of local community wetland management groups, as these management practices are rooted in more comprehensive value systems and are more aligned with sustainable outcomes. These insights reveal the importance of local awareness of ecosystem services, and may be of value to urban planners and policymakers working toward sustainable urban management.

    Authors: Sukanya Basu, Harini Nagendra, Peter Verburg, Tobias Plieninger

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  • MOL Newsletter Apr 22 2024 Earth Day Planet vs Plastics Coverpage PNG
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    Building on the success of the Forests of Life newsletters last year, and with the upcoming Mountains of Life festival scheduled in November 2024, we are excited to bring you a collection of mountain wonders through captivating stories, insights into challenges faced by the communities and calls for action. Additionally, we facilitate a platform for young voices to showcase their creative renditions, encouraging them to explore the various facets of the mountain ecosystems and the need for their conservation. With Planet vs Plastics” as the theme of this newsletter, we intend to raise awareness about the danger of plastic pollution in the mountains, advocate for the reduction of single-use plastics, acknowledge the efforts of some unsung heroes, and call for more sustainable alternatives.

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  • Book

    From Sea to Surwa

    in Azim Premji University

    Cover English Sea to Surwa
    Published
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      Abstract

      Food is the product of a community’s culture and environment. Hence a study of foodways’ can tell us about what food resources are available as well as how customs, beliefs and practices shape the use of these resources. In this report, we share some of the stories and recipes we collected from women in different settler communities between June to November 2023. Our report showcases how these women use marine resources in creative and careful ways to improve the nutritional security of their families. In the process, the report offers a glimpse of the cultural, historical and ecological connections of settler communities of the Andaman Islands.

      Authors:

      Madhuri Ramesh
      Chandralekha C

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      Links
      Language Editions
    • Essays on Transformation and Permanence 13 march
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        Abstract

        The Azim Premji University has been encouraging the expression of diverse and disparate views on a variety of subjects in the past too. Over the last two decades of its existence, the Azim Premji Foundation under which the University operates has been consistently focusing on its vision of contributing towards a more just, equitable, humane, and sustainable society through extensive on-the-groundwork across the country as well as through its partners. In this context we may venture to say that the present collection of essays is an expression of that focus, while encouraging views and counterviews on various perspectives on the national endeavour, with the goal of working towards the Foundation’s vision.

        Amidst the Corona crisis of 2020 to 2022, another compendium of essays entitled Understanding Post-Covid-19 Challenges in India had been published in March 2022. The essays in that collection too had looked at certain key domains such as Health, School Education, Impact of Covid on vulnerable groups, urban development, the systems of recording deaths etc. While that collection tried to document how the nation navigated through a short period of the toughest challenge, this collection tries to offer a snapshot of more than 75 years of history
        since Independence.

        It is hoped that this collection of essays will encourage its readers to think about the myriad activities that India as a nation has undertaken in its unending search for building a better society, the complexities that it has to encounter and the challenges that it has had to overcome, in trying to achieve that objective. The essays here are collected over a year’s time following the 75th year of Independence, and as such some of the essays might not have captured the latest developments in the themes that they focus on. The readers’ responses are welcome.

        Editors:

        CK Mathew

        A Narayana

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      • Learning Curve Issue 18 Cover page
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          Abstract

          The National Curriculum Framework for Foundation Stage (NCF-FS) document has not reached all teachers and is yet to be translated into regional languages. But as we wait for this, we thought we could start to understand it and the experience of some teachers in Azim Premji Schools and those who we work with in government schools in several states who have been implementing parts of it in their classrooms.

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        • Article

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          This article synthesises the evidence on the impact of interventions supporting adolescent girls’ and young women’s education on delaying marriage, childbearing and improving work participation. A total of 13 studies (eight from sub-Saharan Africa and five from South Asia) during the years 2000 – 2020 met our inclusion criteria. A major focus of the included studies was to reduce the schooling cost, with limited focus on strategies such as supplementary coaching, making schools girl-friendly, monitoring performance and sensitising communities about educating girls. Most studies that measured the effects on marriage and childbearing showed a positive impact. However, interventions were less successful in influencing work participation. Although a majority of studies reported positive effects on educational outcomes, fewer measured or reported positive effects on other social and health outcomes. This evidence synthesis suggests a need for studying long-term effects of such interventions on girls’ and women’s families, work and social life to inform policy. Studies that explore the varying impacts of such interventions on girls and women from different sociocultural settings are needed. Our evidence synthesis underscores the importance of making comprehensive efforts to support girls’ education in order to meet the global development commitments of ensuring equitable life opportunities for adolescent girls and young women.

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        • Article

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          The nature and extent of the under-representation of marginalised caste groups in enterprise ownership in India are examined. It is found that exclusion takes place in three distinct stages. First, the share of Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) or Other Backward Class (OBC) individuals in ownership of any enterprise is less than their share in the workforce. Second, among those who do engage in entrepreneurial activities, a disproportionately higher share of entrepreneurs from the marginalised identity groups are engaged in enterprises, which are not purely commercial and are likely to be subsistence-oriented. And finally, even within the owners of purely commercial enterprises, those from marginalised groups tend to be concentrated in the smaller enterprises and are severely under-represented in the larger and more productive ones. 

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        • Article

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          Fifty years ago this week, Gaura Devi, an ordinary woman from a nondescript village in India, hugged a tree, using her body as a shield to stop the tree from being cut down. Little did she know that this simple act of defiance would be a seminal moment in the history of India and the world. Or that Reni village, where she lived, would come to be recognised as the fountainhead of the Chipko environmental movement. What the foot soldiers of Chipko wanted was an acknowledgement of their Indigenous rights to access forest resources that were crucial for their survival. What they got instead was a national law and a ministry populated by a new breed of power brokers — who, in the years to come, would decide at times that habitat preservation is possible only by keeping local communities out.

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        • IJME COVER Jan Mar 2024 230x300 1
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          Abstract

          Background: Care provision received renewed attention during the COVID-19 pandemic as several healthcare providers vied for the coveted title of frontline warrior” while they struggled to provide care efficiently under varying health system constraints. While several studies on the health workforce during the pandemic highlighted their difficulties, there is little reflection on what care” or caring” itself meant specifically for community health workers (CHWs) as they navigated different community and health systems settings. The study aimed to examine CHWs’ caregiving experiences during the pandemic.

          Methods: Twenty narrative interviews with CHWs including ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) and ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwives) were conducted in different states between July and December 2020.

          Results: Our findings highlight the moral, affectual, and relational dimensions of care in the CHWs’ engagement with their routine and Covid-19 related services, as well as the technical” aspects of it. In this article, we argue that these two aspects are, in fact, enmeshed in complex ways. CHWs extend this moral understanding not just to their work, but also to their relationship with the health system and the government, as they express a deep sense of neglect and the lack of being cared for” by the health system.

          Conclusion: CHWs’ experiences demand a more nuanced understanding of the ethics of care or caring that challenges the binaries between the technical” and moral aspects of care.

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        • Pathshala Issue 19 Cover page
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            Abstract

            पाठशाला भीतर और बाहर के उन्नीसवें अंक के ज़्यादातर लेख पुस्तकालय और भाषा की पढ़ाई के विविध पहलुओं पर केन्द्रित हैं। इन लेखों में, अच्छी किताबों से ही अच्छे स्कूल पुस्तकालय की कल्पना साकार होती है व पुस्तकालय को जीवन्त और सक्रिय कैसे बनाया जाए, जैसे विषयों को उठाया गया है। एक लेख लोकतंत्र में संवाद की संस्कृति बनाने व इसके महत्त्व के बारे में है। साक्षात्कार में चिन्तनशील शिक्षक और इनकी रचनात्मकता के विकास की प्रक्रिया पर चर्चा की गई है। संवाद में, संवैधानिक मूल्य बन्धुता के भाव को विकसित करने के लिए स्कूली स्तर पर किए जाने वाले प्रयासों के बारे में अनुभवपरक विचार रखे गए हैं।

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          • IJME COVER Jan Mar 2024 230x300
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            The mental health discourse in India has been primarily viewed through a biomedical lens that often overlooks the cultural context and social inequalities. To ensure equitable access to preventive, promotive, curative, and rehabilitative mental healthcare, India needs practitioners who combine a social perspective with an empathetic approach. To address this need, we designed a course titled Critical Perspectives on Mental Health” that aims to introduce the relevant perspectives and community-based approaches to mental health. In this article, we share our reflections on designing this course and facilitating it in the form of a post-graduation programme.

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          • Article

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              Abstract

              Biological invasions have profound impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services, resulting in substantial economic and health costs estimated in the trillions of dollars. Preventing and managing biological invasions are vital for sustainable development, aligning with the goals of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference. However, some invasive species also offer occasional benefits, leading to divergent perceptions among stakeholders and sectors. Claims that invasion science overlooks positive contributions threaten to hinder proper impact assessment and undermine management. Quantitatively balancing benefits and costs is misleading, because they coexist without offsetting each other. Any benefits also come at a price, affecting communities and regions differently over time. An integrated approach considering both costs and benefits is necessary for understanding and effective management of biological invasions.

              Authors: Laís Carneiro, Philip E Hulme, Ross N Cuthbert, Melina Kourantidou, Alok Bang, Phillip J Haubrock, Corey J A Bradshaw, Paride Balzani, Sven Bacher, Guillaume Latombe, Thomas W Bodey, Anna F Probert, Claudio S Quilodrán, Franck Courchamp

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            • BMC Advances in Simulation
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              Abstract

              It has been reported from various contexts that learning quantitative methods for public health and social research is challenging for students. Based on our observations of these challenges, we designed a simulation-based pedagogical tool called Surveypura to support classroom-based learning of quantitative research methods. The tool includes a large illustration of a fictional village with 155 houses, alongside data for each of the households. The features of the houses, household characteristics, and the village have been carefully designed to give the visual feel of an actual village and better assist the pedagogical process. The tool was used by five facilitators with their master’s students at Azim Premji University in courses on social research and epidemiology. Our observations of the sessions and interactions with facilitators and students suggested that the tool supported more engaged learning of quantitative research methods in a non-intimidating manner. We believe that Surveypura can be a useful simulation-based pedagogical tool to teach quantitative research methods in epidemiology and social sciences even in other contexts.

              Explore more here.

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            • EPW Jan 2024
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              Abstract

              According to the Government of India, linking Aadhaar with the delivery of welfare schemes has saved nearly INR 2,73,093 crore till March 2022 due to, apparently, the removal of duplicate/​fake beneficiaries and plugging of leakages, etc. What is the overall impact of Aadhaar on welfare delivery? We try to understand this through a case study of MGNREGA in Jharkhand. Surveying nearly 3,000 workers in eight villages in Jharkhand to assess both the costs and benefits of linking MGNREGA with Aadhaar, the paper focuses on its impact on errors of inclusion and exclusion.

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