Mechanical Engineer and Feminist Anthropologist Talk about Trees
As part of Grinnell College’s Humanities for Life series, H.S. Udaykumar (Mechanical Engineering) and Meena Khandelwal (Anthropology and GWSS), co-directors of the Obermann Working Group, “Missing the Woods for the Trees: A Critical Examination of Sustainable Development” will tell the story of an unlikely collaboration sparked by a brief conversation about a solar cooking project. Professor Udaykumar took a group of engineering students to visit a village in Rajasthan, India. Their efforts to build an inexpensive and functional solar cooker and their consideration of perspectives from cultural anthropology and gender studies led to an awareness that the cooking fuel problem is technological, environmental, cultural and political. Khandelwal and Udaykumar will discuss their efforts to trace the linkages between forests, energy, gender relations, health, consumption and culture and between the local and global processes.