Thursday, March 7, 2013

Missing the Woods for the Trees:  Mechanical Engineer and Feminist Anthropologist Connect the Local and Global

Women and children from northwest India spend more than 20 hours a week walking to existing stands of trees, cutting down wood, and carrying as much as 70 pounds home to use as cooking fuel. As part of an Obermann Working Group, H.S. Udaykumar (Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering) and Meena Khandelwal (Anthropology and GWSS, CLAS) have forged a unique collaboration around this issue.

The two scholars are looking at how an inexpensive solar cooker that Udaykumar is creating with student assistance would alleviate not only problems of deforestation but also improve the lives of women and girls. On March 13 at 4:00 pm at the Obermann Center, the two will discuss their efforts to trace the linkages among forests, energy, gender relations, health, consumption, and culture, and between the local and global processes. 

Working Groups - An Opportunity for Cross-Disciplinary Exploration

Khandelwal and Udaykumar direct an Obermann Working Group, a program that allows participants from across campus and beyond to explore complex issues at a moment when cross-disciplinary collaboration is crucial to address shifting domains of knowledge and a rapidly changing world. The program is currently taking applications for the next academic year.

This is presentation is part of Obermann Afternoons, an informal speaker series at the Obermann Center that features faculty research and highlights issues of current importance. The next talk will be given by Matt Rizzo (Neurology) on April 30 at 4 pm.